Posts tagged libraries

The National Library of Norway is digitizing its entire collection. The Norwegian Legal Deposit Act requires that all published content, in all media, be deposited with the National Library of Norway. The collection is also being expanded through purchases and gifts. The digital collection contains material dating from the Middle Ages up to the current day.

Via The National Library of Norway.

What, what does that mean?

The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal takes it away:

…[W]hen the library is finished scanning, the entire record of a people’s language and literature will be machine-readable and sitting in whatever we call the cloud in 15 years.

If you happen to be in Norway, as measured by your IP address, you will be able to access all 20th-century works, even those still under copyright. Non-copyrighted works from all time periods will be available for download.

According to the Scandinavian Library Quarterly, the National Library is six years into its digitization process. The results so far: a collection of approximately “350,000 newspaper copies, 235,000 books, 240,000 pages of handwritten manuscripts, 4,000 posters, 740,000 hours of radio broadcasts, 310,000 hours of television programmes, 7,000 videocassettes/films, 7,000 78-rpm records and 8,000 audiotapes.”

Pretty amazing that a country values the cultural capital of its media to recognize it as a common resource for all its citizens. Meantime, in the States, well, copyright, although a federal judge did back Google’s book digitization efforts in November.

British Library: Go Forth and Remix
Via the British Library:

We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.

So, awesome.
Now check out the British Library’s next steps:

We plan to launch a crowdsourcing application at the beginning of next year, to help describe what the images portray. Our intention is to use this data to train automated classifiers that will run against the whole of the content. The data from this will be as openly licensed as is sensible (given the nature of crowdsourcing) and the code, as always, will be under an open licence.
The manifests of images, with descriptions of the works that they were taken from, are available on github and are also released under a public-domain ‘licence’. This set of metadata being on github should indicate that we fully intend people to work with it, to adapt it, and to push back improvements that should help others work with this release. 
There are very few datasets of this nature free for any use and by putting it online we hope to stimulate and support research concerning printed illustrations, maps and other material not currently studied. Given that the images are derived from just 65,000 volumes and that the library holds many millions of items.

Image: Detail, page 331, “L’Alsace et des Alsaciens à travers les siècles,” via the British Library on Flickr. Select to embiggen.

British Library: Go Forth and Remix

Via the British Library:

We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.

So, awesome.

Now check out the British Library’s next steps:

We plan to launch a crowdsourcing application at the beginning of next year, to help describe what the images portray. Our intention is to use this data to train automated classifiers that will run against the whole of the content. The data from this will be as openly licensed as is sensible (given the nature of crowdsourcing) and the code, as always, will be under an open licence.

The manifests of images, with descriptions of the works that they were taken from, are available on github and are also released under a public-domain ‘licence’. This set of metadata being on github should indicate that we fully intend people to work with it, to adapt it, and to push back improvements that should help others work with this release. 

There are very few datasets of this nature free for any use and by putting it online we hope to stimulate and support research concerning printed illustrations, maps and other material not currently studied. Given that the images are derived from just 65,000 volumes and that the library holds many millions of items.

Image: Detail, page 331, “L’Alsace et des Alsaciens à travers les siècles,” via the British Library on Flickr. Select to embiggen.

Beautiful Libraries

Via Huffington Post UK

These stunning images show some of the great libraries of the world, compiled for a book by Dr James Campbell, who visited more than 80 buildings in 20 countries for his own tome entitled: The Library: A World History.

The book, which took three years to research and includes these pictures by photographer Will Pryce, takes in some of the great rooms of learning from around the globe, from Trinity Hall in Cambridge to the Library Of Congress in Washington. There are even images of the Malatestiana Biblioteca in Cesena, Italy, regarded as the oldest library in the world, dating to 1452.

Images: The Tripitaka Koreana at the Haeinsa Temple in South Korea (top); The library at Admont Abbey in Austria (left); The Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra, Portugal (right); The Chapter Library, Noyon Cathedral, France (bottom), by Will Pryce via HuffPo UK. Select to embiggen.

Libraries and librarians…are…a kind of secular clergy, a trusted ear and an unbiased source of information and support to anyone who walks in the door. This is the compact we have at the deeper levels of our engagement with our communities past the bestsellers and free internet. There is a web of trust. Our users know, or should know, that they can come to us with issues and concerns and that we will leverage our best abilities to their ends. No matter what crazy crap is going on in your life the librarian will figure it out and set you up with at least some better understanding and a direction to go in.
Christian Zabriskie - Urban Librarians Unite founder and assistant community library manager at Queens Library at Baisley Park (via queenslibrary)
Hello, Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America launched today with “photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States.”
Its goal is to create “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future ­generations.”
Exhibitions are here. And your inner hacker can access the DPLA’s API here. Yes, the library has an API, which is awesome. One app currently using it is the Library Observatory:

Library Observatory is an interactive tool for searching and visualizing the DPLA collections, accompanied by an interactive documentary that weaves together history, visualizations, and audio about the making, use, and enduring significance of library data and the collections they describe.

Another app searches both the DPLA and Europeana, a European project similar to it, simultaneously giving results from each.
Start exploring.

Hello, Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America launched today with “photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States.”

Its goal is to create “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future ­generations.”

Exhibitions are here. And your inner hacker can access the DPLA’s API here. Yes, the library has an API, which is awesome. One app currently using it is the Library Observatory:

Library Observatory is an interactive tool for searching and visualizing the DPLA collections, accompanied by an interactive documentary that weaves together history, visualizations, and audio about the making, use, and enduring significance of library data and the collections they describe.

Another app searches both the DPLA and Europeana, a European project similar to it, simultaneously giving results from each.

Start exploring.

Books on the Train

Here’s an interesting library tech concept by students from the Miami Ad School. Lend library books to people who are riding the subway. Or, at least, the first 10 pages of them.

The idea is to use a technology called Near Field Communication that’s embedded in contemporary phones to swipe a bar code in a subway car to download a book sample. NFC is a low powered wireless communication system that allows devices to talk to and share information with each other.

Again, the idea is conceptual, but a fascinating innovation to introduce people to new books — and their local libraries — during the daily commute. When a person leaves the subway, they’re alerted to the nearest library branch that has the book so they can continue reading.

And it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. The technology exists, and people are already shopping by cell phones and QR codes in South Korean subways.

A little fact checking moment on the above video though: public library use is increasing, not decreasing, according to a recent report from the Center for an Urban Future (PDF). Matter of fact, as the New York Times reports:

Over 40 million visits were paid to the New York, Brooklyn and Queens systems in the 2011 fiscal year, the center said, or more than the combined attendance at all the city’s professional sports games or major cultural institutions. The libraries circulated 69 million books and other materials and responded to 14.5 million reference questions.

But we’ll let that error slide. They are, after all, advertising — and not journalism — students.

Video: The Underground Subway, by Max Pilwat, Keri Tan and Ferdi Rodriguez.

Read a Newspaper. Save the Puppies.

Via Time:

While digital publishing has helped put old-fashioned newspapers into a tailspin, it’s also prompted a crisis at another venerable establishment—San Francisco’s animal control agency.

For years, the agency has been relying on the once abundant supply of old newspapers to line the cages of shelter puppies. But with many subscriptions now moving to digital, that vital supply of puppy paper has been decimated, reports CBS San Francisco.

The San Francisco Public Library is saving the day so far by donating its used papers.  

fjp-latinamerica:

Biblioburro: a living library that gathers stories

We just came across with the Biblioburro project, a circulating library-on-hooves that connects the minds and imagination of needy Colombian children:

BiblioBurro (Biblio = Library / Burro=Donkey) is a traveling library that distributes books to patrons from the backs of two donkeys, Alfa and Beto. The combination of the donkey Names (Alfa and Beto compose he word alfabetpo = Alphabet).

Grade-school teacher Luis Soriano developed the idea after witnessing first-hand the power reading had on his students, most of whom had lived through intense life conflicts at a young age. Starting in the late 1990s, Soriano traveled to communities in Colombia’s Caribbean Sea hinterlands with a portable library, which began with 70 books. It now has 4,800 books.

Last year, the project was featured in a delightful POV documentary film (“heartwarming yet unsentimental”) directed by Carlos Rendón Zipagauta. Here is one of the passages that caught our attention:

In some of the film’s most affecting scenes, Soriano encourages the children who gather at his stopovers to tell stories and draw pictures describing their lives. One by one, horrific tales of paramilitary massacres, mutilations and other violent traumas emerge, and the children depict the sadness and fear that shadow their daily existence. 

FJP: Biblioburro has now become an institution in Colombia. Soriano still commutes from village to village in a one-man quest to rescue his country by rescuing some of its poorest children. For them, the Biblioburro represents recreation, education, and more recently, an outlet to tell their own stories to the world. We’ll listen.

Colombia has some very innovative programs for getting books into people’s hands. For example, Paradero Para Libros Para Parques places bookstands in parks, staffs them and lets people check out books.

Share of Websites that Use jQuery
Pingdom reports that the JavaScript library jQuery is used by over 54% of the top ten thousand sites in the world. The numbers drop when we get into the top 100, they suggest, because Google owns about 20% of those (eg., Google and all its country specific flavors, YouTube, Blogger, etc.) and those sites don’t use jQuery.
Note that Google, Microsoft and Media Temple all host jQuery for public use on their respective CDNs. The upside is that when you use these resources — instead of hosting jQuery on your own — it’s often likely that the scripts are already cached in a visitor’s browser so site performance will quicken.
Pingdom Blog, The Web loves jQuery, and here are the numbers to prove it. 

Share of Websites that Use jQuery

Pingdom reports that the JavaScript library jQuery is used by over 54% of the top ten thousand sites in the world. The numbers drop when we get into the top 100, they suggest, because Google owns about 20% of those (eg., Google and all its country specific flavors, YouTube, Blogger, etc.) and those sites don’t use jQuery.

Note that Google, Microsoft and Media Temple all host jQuery for public use on their respective CDNs. The upside is that when you use these resources — instead of hosting jQuery on your own — it’s often likely that the scripts are already cached in a visitor’s browser so site performance will quicken.

Pingdom Blog, The Web loves jQuery, and here are the numbers to prove it

Colombia Brings Libraries to the Park
Via Bilingual Librarian:

Monday morning I was out walking around downtown Bogota when I happened upon this lovely little library in the park. This stand makes part of the Paradero Para Libros Para Parques (PPP), a program created about 10 years ago to help promote literacy across the country. The program is part of Fundalectura in association with city parks.
Currently there are 47 PPP in various neighborhoods of Bogota, and a total of 100 across the country. Each stand is staffed for about 12 hours a week by volunteer (they do receive a small stipend, but apparently it isn’t much).
The PPP are often open during the weekend and while in service they offer regular library services. Patrons can check books out, and the person staffing the PPP organizes activities (mainly for children), is available to answer questions, and often help children with their homework.

Colombia Brings Libraries to the Park

Via Bilingual Librarian:

Monday morning I was out walking around downtown Bogota when I happened upon this lovely little library in the park. This stand makes part of the Paradero Para Libros Para Parques (PPP), a program created about 10 years ago to help promote literacy across the country. The program is part of Fundalectura in association with city parks.

Currently there are 47 PPP in various neighborhoods of Bogota, and a total of 100 across the country. Each stand is staffed for about 12 hours a week by volunteer (they do receive a small stipend, but apparently it isn’t much).

The PPP are often open during the weekend and while in service they offer regular library services. Patrons can check books out, and the person staffing the PPP organizes activities (mainly for children), is available to answer questions, and often help children with their homework.

These are all major accomplishments, and we librarians have every right to be proud of them. But the world is moving on. Each of the services we’ve provided in the digital arena has been — or is being — superseded by new and better technologies or by other organizations better suited to deliver services electronically. And when Google has finished its scanning project, it will have no more use for us or our collections either. So after more than 50 years in the digital market, libraries have come right back to where they started. Our dream of an electronic library has been built, but others own and manage it. We are left with the tangible property we began with, our physical books, the thousands of buildings that house them, and the millions of people still coming through our doors to use them. In reality, those are not inconsiderable assets — especially in a world where it may become increasingly uneconomical to have physical bookstores or places where people can get together to listen to stories or discuss books and ideas. Figuring out how to exploit those assets in this new environment will not be easy. Perhaps we should turn our attention away from the electric library that others have built and focus on the real books and buildings that made us what we were to begin with. Perhaps that will continue to define us into the future. Or perhaps not. Perhaps we have new roles to play in the digital world or old roles to play but in a new way. Let’s think about that.
FEATURE: The Decline and Fall of the Library Empire (via infoneer-pulse)

The day a virtual library becomes a legit place to hang out, or goof off with friends is the day physical libraries truly die. Information alone is only so valuable, after all.

Library sex began with high hopes. Long before the era of the public library, stories of sex among books were set in private collections, in secluded humanist studies. The protagonist of Antonio Vignali’s 1526 La Cazzaria (The Book of the Prick) examines a collection of raunchy books and manuscripts in a private study as he awaits the arrival of a lover. The presence of smutty works in progress is telling: there is an elegant cross-pollination here. Books inspire sex, sex creates books—and all within the four walls of the library.

Avi Steinberg, The Paris Review. Checking Out.

A brief history of libraries, librarians and sex in which we learn that “again and again,” in contemporary library-porn lit, “the neglected love life of the librarian is a stand-in for the doomed state of the library generally.”

Publishers vs Libraries: E-Book Edition

Major publishers are wary of putting e-books in the hands of libraries. Since digital bytes and bits don’t decay, they worry that libraries can buy a single digital edition and lend it endlessly without additional revenue coming back to the publisher.

Via the New York Times:

In [publisher’s] eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones.

Borrowing a printed book from the library imposes an inconvenience upon its patrons. “You have to walk or drive to the library, then walk or drive back to return it,” says Maja Thomas, a senior vice president of the Hachettte Book Group, in charge of its digital division.

And print copies don’t last forever; eventually, the ones that are much in demand will have to be replaced. “Selling one copy that could be lent out an infinite number of times with no friction is not a sustainable business model for us,” Ms. Thomas says. Hachette stopped making its e-books available to libraries in 2009…

…To keep their overall revenue from taking a hit from lost sales to individuals, publishers need to reintroduce more inconvenience for the borrower or raise the price for the library purchaser.

Publishers will do what they believe they need to do but I’m pessimistic of any business model that purposefully introduces friction and inconvenience in order to survive.

Libraries!

  • University of Salamanca Library, Salamanca, Spain
  • La Sorbonne Reading Room, Paris, France
  • Old Library, St John’s College, Cambridge.
  • George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

Via Flavorwire.

Click to embiggen.