Have you ever seen the old Perry Mason series? The original black and white episodes with Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, and William Hopper? I was home with a broken limb over the holidays, started watching and quickly was addicted. Since then I have DVR’d the episodes to watch as I work out in the morning. Older shows are perfect for the morning work out since they lasted longer – episodes were 49 to 52 minutes each, leaving only 8 to 11 minutes for commercials (new shows today last only 40 to 46 minutes for the hour slot). Besides, it is rather fun to spot-the-future-star (Burt Reynolds, Barbara Eden, James Coburn)!
Anyway, back to Perry! The episode was The Case of the Bogus Books from September 27, 1962. That’s nearly 50 years ago.
The plot centered around, of course, a murder. Who was murdered? A nefarious book seller! Why nefarious? He had a successful venture stealing rare first editions from libraries and resell them! Just listening and watching the “Lady Librarian” (honest, that was how she was billed in the credits) and the Curator (not billed as “Male Curator” but just “Curator”) was both illuminating and strangely familiar. They discovered several libraries were missing the rare first editions of books – replaced by “worthless” third and fourth editions. Turns out the … oh wait, you probably want to watch it. I ought not ruin it for you.
I do love it when I find my profession in old movies, books, TV shows, etc. I like seeing how each generation viewed us. How the authors twist and turn our profession! Seeing this makes me think, did the stereotype come from popular culture or did popular culture reflect reality of the time? Regardless, it is rather nice to be thought of as very smart, very organized, and often, very sexy (I could live without the shhh thing though).
Technology can be marvelous. If this works as demo’d … oh boy!
Ever “lose” a book in the shelves? Ever have a shelver come to you to ask where a book is – because You are the Cataloger and Keeper Of All Knowledge of Where Books Live, then be disappointed because you cannot magically make the misshelved book appear? Well fret no more! The Augmented Reality App for Shelf Reading, developed by Miami University Augmented Reality Research Group is here!
Watch the Youtube piece, then if you going to be at ACRL Saturday, April 2, 2011, please go to The Library’s Swiss-Army Knife: Using Smart Phones For Information Discovery, Content Delivery, and Inventory Management session at 9:45 AM in room 201 B/C.
My little cataloger heart is going thump thump thump! Finally, something that ensures all the stuff is in the right place on the shelf! It also gives me an inventory of what is physically on the shelf! BONUS! I think the shelf readers might actually enjoy doing shelf reading with this fun tool – it’s almost a game.
The extremely talented author*, Lucy A. Snyder, has written a very interesting article for Horror World “More on Amazon Rank Tracking and Ebook Sales“. She has links within the article to previous articles on the same subject.
This is the first article I’ve seen from an author with actual analytics of the ‘success’ of the e-books. Lucy, a conscientious and thorough researcher, details her sales from Amazon on e-books. I urge you to go read it.
This fascinates me. I’ve been wondering who is buying all the e-books (other than libraries) since I hear how incredibly successful they are and how THEY WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD. I do like e-books. I was a hard convert – it wasn’t until I got the iPhone and downloaded some free books from Gutenberg Press that I realized how lovely these books can be. I still prefer a paper version for reading but was overjoyed to have a book at my fingertips wherever I find myself in need (long line? waiting for your friend to join you at lunch? Open the e-book reader and enjoy!).
I knew there was spin in the marketing but these numbers flabbergasted me. “If you said it is so, it will be so” seems to be the mantra. I’m really not that much of a Luddite, I think e-books are waving us into the future. I think the ‘green’ nature of them (as well as the portability) will help on the road to success but I just don’t think we’re there yet. Again, I have to go back to $$$$. Not everyone has the $$$ to get a e-book reader. Not everyone has the $$$ to get any sort of electronic device to read e-books. Not everyone …well, you’ve heard that rant before.
Lucy’s final paragraph eloquently states my feeling:
So, bibliophiles can put down their Xanax prescriptions; everything’s fine. Ebooks aren’t crowding out the “real” books … they’re just giving readers a delightful variety of options. And that’s a beautiful thing.
*disclosure, Lucy and I have been friends since college but I do not use hyperbole to describe her. She is extremely talented, dedicated, and darned nice too. Oh and she’d be a great librarian – she has several cats already (oh come on! Stereotypes exist to mock).
Have you seen this “A Librarian Takes on Google Books“*? It is just brilliant on so many levels:
- librarians not just recognizing the need but taking action
- non-librarians seeing the worth of the project
- purchasing and utilizing appropriate technology
- quality AND quantity being considered and acted upon
Best of all? This near the end of the blog entry:
The librarian believes he has found a new cause for his profession, to give a secure home to digitized texts produced with the highest quality standards and available freely to all. “These are huge benefits,” he says, “and should be fought for by all of those who care about unimpeded public access to knowledge.”
I think Andrew Green is my new hero (then again, I haven’t yet seen what he is doing about metadata).
*Please note, the idea of the Google Book project is lovely. Let’s get everything so everyone can access it. The issues involved in such an endeavor are incredibly complex (from copyright to access to cost to quality and beyond). I admire the ideal but am not enamored with the reality. For your edification, Library Journal has published a list of links regarding the topic. You can also just search for tons of for/against articles, blogs, etc.
HAHAHAHA! I’ve been reading the NGC4Lib list and once again someone has declared the Death of Books (also of CDs, vinyl*, and anything else that is ‘stagnant’).
To paraphrase Twain, reports of the death of books is greatly exaggerated. Books have been declared dead before. Anyone recall how microform was going TAKE OVER THE WORLD! We no longer need printed books, we have microform! Why, everyone will have their very own reader at home. In fact, some universities developed their collections along these lines – collecting massive amounts of materials on microform only (I’m talking to you University of Texas at Dallas) and had to struggle to catch up when microform did not actually take over the world.
Are printed books becoming less used in non-fiction and reference materials? Absolutely! Are they also beginning to cross over into the fiction world as e-Books? Sure enough! Are printed books obsolete? No. Is it possible in the distant future to have only e-Books? Sure. Is it going to happen in the next 5 to 10 years? I don’t think so.
Yes, the paradigm (ooh, look at the buzz word!) is shifting. Yes, more and more things are going online. Yes, there are e-Book-like things that are constantly updated with new information (MD Consult has had this for quite a while). It is lovely to have the instant access to the updated information (when the computers and networks are all playing nicely AND you have a subscription). [another topic to explore, the concept of renting information and owning information]
But shifts have been happening for some time. Let’s look at the phenomena of print journals to e-Journals. I recall predictions that print journals will no longer be published (Magazine are DEAD!) but they are still printed. Sure, some journals have transitioned to online only. Some are still walking the line of print and electronic. Some are “added value” electronic and regular ol’stagnant print. How many years has it been? CD-ROM databases were around nearly 20 years ago (eons in compuspeak). So. Journals are dead too, huh? Only e-Journals from now on! Uh huh.
Will print go away entirely? I doubt it, at least I doubt it will happen quite as fast and as finally as some on the NGC4Lib list are stating. Just look at store catalogs and advertisements - they’ve been online for some time now but I still get postal mailings (a wee bit too much if you ask me). Until the majority of people out there have constant and reliable access to all things electronic and webbie, it just can’t happen. Where there is a market, there is a way.
I assume the argument is being used to emphasize the big ‘shift’ occurring. I mean, I guess the idea is to shock us into jumping up and down on the bandwagon and changing NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!! ALL WILL BE LOST! GONE FOREVER!! LOST I TELL YOU!! LOST! Er…sorry, hyperbole got the better of me, and of them.
*as to “vinyl” being dead, seems to me there are several bands (from Springstein to Erykah Badu to Lady Gaga), releasing materials on vinyl and more people are collecting vinyl … at least, the purchase of vinyl is up and more stores (actual stores where you walk in and pick things up with your own hands) are carrying vinyl. Dead indeed.