03 December 2010

lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy

fresh off my whirlwind touring of my award-winning presentation at the charleston conference... (okay, it was neither whirlwind or am i fresh off as it was several weeks ago) i present . . . stop the world, i wanna get off.

the title of this blog comes from the title of one of my favorite songs growing up. the words go something like...

slow down, you move too fast
you gotta make the morning last
kickin' down the cobblestones
lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy

paul simon's 59th street bridge song. goooooood times, good times. but i digress...

since i've been kinda following this e-reader/e-book/naked library thing, a LOT has happened.

amazon kindle: november 19, 2007-august 27, 2010 (3 generations of kindle 2, 3 generations of kindle dx)
barnes & noble nook: october 30, 2009-november 19, 2010 (1 original b&w nook, 1 color nook)
sony reader: november 2006-september 2010 (8 models/generations)
other e-readers: *me hunching shoulders* kobo, que pro reader,
e-reading devices: i know, the iPad, BUT also your laptop, mobile phone.

and do you know how many tablets are coming out next year?? here's just the top 5

it's the end of 2010...almost. thinking about all the things that have occurred in the e-reading stratosphere got me thinking about of all things . . . me! me and my generation (baby boomers) and the things that we used to didn't have and the things i've seen invented in my short (that's right, short!!) lifetime, so far...

i've gone from 78 speed records albums (albeit i was a wee one then) to 33 1/3 and 45 rpm vinyl records and albums, to 8-track tapes to cassettes to cds to digital. music just appears (and disappears).

i've gone from black and white televisions with knobs to change the channel and turn up the volume and FIVE networks (2 local) to high definition digitally enhanced color televisions with remote controls and way more than 57 channels and there's STILL nothing on. okay, maybe, a little something.

i've gone from rotary phones with letters for phone numbers (AD4-4327, the AD is for adirondack), to touch tone phones (all attached to the wall i might add) to cordless phones to mobile phones to cell phones, and skype. (look out george jetson).

not to mention microwave ovens, vcrs (beta and vhs), coffee makers, food processors, and the personal computer. but the one thing, i suppose, that has stayed the same is...

THE BOOK! the actual book. but if you think about it, look at all the changes that have occurred around the book. the dreaded paperback (the rock n' roll of publishing, evil, wicked), the library as place (i can eat there?), the bookstore (local vs. behemoth), the best-selling author (john grisham, are you listening?), AMAZON!!!

so the book has just been an innocent bystander, watching. but waiting?? for what? the revolution!! the 'E' (no, not electricity, you luddites, although that's a necessity) but ELECTRONICITY. (if it's not a word, it should be).

i don't know about you, but i LOVE my coffee maker, i LOVE my computer and i use my microwave just about every day. i like my washing machine and my dryer (much easier than beating my shirts on rocks). they make our life a little easier, if you make coffee, like clean laundry, or dare i say it, communicate with others outside your neighborhood. or are responsible for the yearly christmas family newsletter.

so maybe we won't feel the paper, smell the ink (???). we don't touch the vinyl records anymore but we didn't stop listening to music. can you honestly say that if you need reference information that you will head to the library BEFORE you "google" it? that you will wait for the catalog to come in the mail or head to the mall BEFORE you sneak a peak online? do you use your cell phone for more than talking? do you use it as a camera? do you text? do you use it to listen to music?

maybe the BOOK is a symbol. maybe it's the last bastion before total technological immersion. 2001-a space odyssey, i,robot, day of the triffids (oh, wait, forget the last one). the loss of physicality. our very existence!! if we can't touch it, is it real? are we real? cue space odyssey music.

trine university is going all e-textbook

university of texas opens bookless library is that legal?

i say all that to say this. in all the noise, we've forgotten the function. what does it mean "to read?" what is "reading?" why do we "read?" will you stop reading if you can only see the words on a piece of plastic? or will the story still call like a siren from the sea?

e-readers are here to stay, i think. and so are books, i think. so let's all slow down, take a breath, and sit down with a good old-fashioned . . . story.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

14 October 2010

eureka! i've found them. where the books are.

pip pip cheerio and all that sort of rot!

well, dear reader, you will be happy to know that after months of slogging away on this blog, from coming up with a trendy, hip name that has its finger on the pulses of the literary, publishing and librarial (is that a word?) worlds to keeping abreast on the latest news on the death of reading, books, and the alphabet, comes news from across the pond . . . books are worth keeping.

well, if you have a governmental entitlement to keeping them. the bodlein library of the university of oxford has a brand, spanking new, state-of-the-art book storage facility. yes, yes, it's true! for 26 million pounds ($41.6 million US bucks!), you too can have 153 miles of shelving that can hold over 8 million volumes. yes, 8 MILLION! it's the ultimate in weeding!! every librarian who's any librarian is building one.

but, wait, you say? the book is dead, long live the e-book. who needs shelves when i have a laptop, kindle, nook, iPad? well, apparently, the BRITISH need books. not only do they need them, they look like they want to KEEP them. *sigh*

well, i thought, this is just an anomaly, the british being their usual contrarian selves, going against the grain, incorrigible as they are wont to be. then, i see THIS! an article in the UK Independent newspaper entitled "The 50 best bookshops." FIFTY??!! there are at least 50? are there even 50 left in the US? The 50 best bookshops implies that there are actually more than 50 bookshops to choose from. who knew??

well, there you have it. my dogged research just confirms our suspicions that the british are clearly stuck in a time warp of their own choosing, while americans are light years ahead of them with their bookless libraries and their e-readers and their 23rd ranking in literacy rate (the UK is #9). i'm just sayin'

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

30 September 2010

blio? more like blech!

hello, dear reader

well, great news! put away your kindles, nooks, iPads, laptops (oh, wait not your laptop), and get ready for the greatest e-book reading application ever in the history of man (woman, pet) kind . . . blio!! and the lowercase is theirs.

okay, maybe i exaggerate. actually, if you read this entire blog post, you will know how exaggerated that statement is! because if i didn't want to avoid using the lord's name in vain, i would say it was god-awful. oops. well, it's lowercase.

blio is an e-reading application created by a company called KNF-B (who already have me ticked off by making me use CAPS). blio is currently available for windows with android and iPhone/iPad apps to come (unfortunately).

the blio website says blio is "Smart enough to know that books are more than just words; there’s style, presentation, and a world of color. Blio is also intelligent enough to know all of that enhances your reading experience. That’s what you love about books." no, that's what i love about magazines. a book is papers with words on them. engaging, funny, thoughtful, provocative words. most of the books i've read since adulthood (more like 8th grade) have had more words than pictures. world of color? i think not, unless you count the cover. or my dr seuss phase.

the blio website also says that "eBooks are intended to be different…that’s why they put that little “e” in front of “book”." silly me. i thought the 'e' was for electronic, not entertaining.

the blio website says that blio will read to you, highlighting each word along the way. you can "look up words you might not be familiar with." that's great!!! now i can stop wasting time looking up words i AM familiar with.

the blio website says you can get more info on a topic by searching google or bing. isn't that why i'm reading the book? okay, now i'm just being petty.

"and more!" i didn't make that part up.

you can "write in the margins." good luck figuring out how to do that. you can take notes, add pics and web links to your notes. that's AFTER you highlight text in the book. simply want to add a note? sorry.

again, from the website: "blio wants to make reading enjoyable and easy." okay, you really can't get much easier than reading an actual physical book and enjoyment is in the hands of the reader so that's a giant FAIL. trust me, it's a FAIL.

blio has what they call "ReadLogic" - it "knows" to auto zoom or to navigate to the next logical place in the book for you to read. knock, knock. who's there? george orwell. it's 1984!

So, of course there was nothing left to do after receiving this breath-taking information than to download it. *sigh*

and download it, i did and then proceeded to look at one of the pre-loaded books. "could not connect to search server." i got that error message a few times before it finally allowed me to create an account (with a password that HAS to have a number and letter - grrr) trust me, no one will want to hack in to THIS account.

my account came preloaded with a quick start guide, a user manual (seems like they could have combined these two), two children's books and one adult book (woodstock: peace, music and memories). groovy.

i see why they thought using woodstock would be a good idea to show off the "benefits" of blio. it's got lots of color - pictures, ticket stubs, stuff like that. like a scrapbook. except it doesn't really translate that well, imho. it would look a lot better in the full-color, glossy-coated pages of a 'real' book.

the page turning - stilted. the notes sidebar, as i mentioned previously, not intuitive at all. the 3-D view doesn't make things any better. it places the book at an angle, and the pages turn like a toddler's board book. *double sigh*

the final frustration was when i hadn't yet figured out how to use the notes function. i clicked the help link for getting started and was redirected to a web page that said, wait for it . . . coming soon! WHAT?

i hope the only thing coming soon is the early demise of blio. oh, don't believe me?


happy reading . . . no matter the format (except blio). blech!

16 September 2010

i digress . . . what are kids learning today?

today i encountered two conversations between high school freshmen. two african american males (i'm not sure if race or gender matters but i'll throw it in there).

they were conversing and one of them had a t-shirt with bob marley on it. the other didn't know who bob marley was. the t-shirt wearer was horrified. he couldn't understand how someone couldn't know who bob marley was.

at that point, i recounted a conversation i had earlier that morning where a student encountered another student who didn't know who nelson mandela was. bob marley t-shirt wearer said "who's nelson mandela?" i thought he was kidding. he wasn't.

the student who didn't know who bob marley was, was horrified. how could someone not know who nelson mandela was.

funny how things happen. i told them both that they should use these as "teachable moments," or actually, "wikipedia" moments.

which led me to start to ponder what, exactly, our kids are learning about in school. are we neglecting to teach subject matter that actually "matters" because we have a test to pass or a score to keep? are we leaving people (mandela, marley) behind in order to leave no child behind. or as i have heard, leave no child's behind alone? bob marley t-shirt wearer doesn't think he ever learned of south africa, apartheid, or nelson mandela in any of his history classes in a local south carolina high school. hmmmmmm.

but, this is why i love my job. i get to see the 'aha' moments, the lightbulbs go off, the students becoming teachers simply because they are passionate about something. it made me proud to be where i am. they were all genuinely concerned about the perceived lack of consciousness of their fellow students. it is a joy to behold. i hope to be a part of many more of these moments. peace.

10 September 2010

is she still talking about iPads? oh, no she dinn't...

oh, yes she did!

happy autumn. well, almost autumn. but definitely happy back to school days. ah, the crackling in the air . . . that's brain synapses firing up after a long nap of water skiing, camping, traveling, swimming, boating, snoozing, you know, SUMMER!!

but now it's back to the grindstone for most students, especially college students. and what do my eyes see? or rather what DON'T they see? lo, and behold, NO iPads. although at my institution it has been reported that 60% of the freshman class use apple macbooks. hmmmmm...

so that led to me to wonder what's going on at other campuses around the country. it seems as though colleges and universities think this iPad is going somewhere. where's it going? home with their students. because the colleges are the ones providing it. see below:

iPad pilot launches in texas university mba program

okalahoma state to test iPad in PR and marketing courses

duke u trying out iPads for field research

so i'm wondering . . . what are the technological expectations of colleges and universities and what are they of the students and do they match up? if the iPad is not a natural extension of a student's technology suite, such as their laptop, which they probably brought with them and have used for many years, why are some universities so intent on having students use a piece of technology they wouldn't otherwise use? especially since one of the current themes on iPad usage on college campuses is . . . use it for what? what can it do? who creates the app? is there an app for that?

happy reading (there IS an app for THAT) . . . no matter the format. happy thinking, too for that matter.

08 July 2010

confused?? you should be!

i know it's been a whole 'nother month since i last blogged, but it's summer and you're probably not around to read it anyway. the hamptons, the cape, cancun, fiji. i know how ya'll roll.

but now that you're taking a break from your travels, i have to admit something to you, dear readers . . .

i . . . am . . . confused!

are e-readers and iPads good? or not so good? and are we even listening anymore? is this the new "paper or plastic" argument? can i put my iPad in a paper bag? or my paperback in a walmart plastic baggy? okay, that's just silly.

but . . . this morning, i woke up to a story (well, i actually woke up before the story came on, since i heard it in the car) about stanford university. specifically, stanford's engineering library. the title of the story is: stanford ushers in the age of bookless libraries

"In 2005, when the university realized it was running out of space for its growing collection of 80,000 engineering books, administrators decided to build a new library. But instead of creating more space for books, they chose to create less."

the new physical collection size? 10,000. that's right, TEN thousand, not EIGHTY.

so this e-reading thing must be catching on. most of the engineering periodicals the library subscribes to are now available online. so no need for "paper."

so, case closed. if it's good enough for stanford, it's good enough for . . . no, cornell university. their engineering library is headed in the same direction.

now, you should have noticed that these articles refer to the engineering libraries of these fine institutions. but i suspect other non-engineering libraries will follow suit.

so there. but wait . . . there's more.

because while students are reading their fancy schmancy digital journal editions, they will be reading . . . more slowly. according to a nielsen study, you read slower on an iPad, even slower on a kindle, than you do a traditional paper book. i take issue with the reading selection, ernest hemingway, which was referred to as "pleasant and engaging to read." i beg to differ. but i digress.

julie sartain over at PC world mag takes issue with the study in her article titled "why e-readers are a worthy investment."

i mentioned to a "colleague" that i thought for every two steps e-reading takes forward, there is some force to push it one step back. i don't know why. it's not evil, it's just different. and you don't HAVE to read an electronic copy of a text unless one isn't available. this is america!!! land of the free!! free to be, you and me!! thank you, marlo thomas!! (yes, click the link-it's how we used to learn stuff)

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

28 May 2010

i'm baaaaaa-ack! and still talkin' ipads.

my sincere apologies, dear reader. i don't know where the time has gone. to think it has been almost a month since my last post. luckily, nothing of any significance in the world of e-books, e-readers, tablets, ipads, publishing, books, libraries or students has occurred, right??

AU CONTRAIRE!!! that's french, you know. babelfish it.

at first, i was just going to post link after link after link about stuff i thought was of interest and have you catch up. but that's not fair. and you probably wouldn't read it all anyway. so i'll just jump back on track with some information i shared with colleagues at work on academic libraries and apple's ipad.

i currently serve on a committee at the academic library, of which i am gainfully and gratefully employed, that is exploring the usage and applicability of ipads in our library. actually e-reading devices as a whole. one of the questions is will we be hardware providers or content providers or both? will we use this opportunity to become fluent in i-pad-ese? or tablet-ese? or e-reader-ese? i love these-ese words. :-)

anyway, in our last discussion, i mentioned that several academic libraries are lending apple ipads. they include ncsu, fairleigh dicksinson, and mit.

i also came across this presentation from fairleigh dicksinson entitled e-books, e-readers and their impact on libraries.

and this just in - duke university will be looking for ways to incorporate the ipad beginning in the fall 2010 semester. way back in ancient times, circa 2004, duke university began experimenting with apple ipOds.

questions, questions. what role the academic library will play regarding the introduction of these electronic devices? will we provide platform-diverse content or provide the platform itself? should the library have several electronic devices and for what purposes? general circulation? interlibrary loan? should we have any? what about ebooks and products such as ebrary. and what about e-book formats. kindle, e-pub, mobi, pdf. a colleague reminded us about betamax and vhs. which one did you bet on? if you picked betamax, you chose poorly.

weighty questions, no? oui.

30 April 2010

college students come to the library to . . .

remember family feud? no, students don't come to the library for that. i'm asking you! remember, family feud? contestants had to find the most popular answers to questions.

the host would say, "100 people surveyed, top 5 answers on the board. name a place you leave your keys. and there were buzzers and crazy answers and hilarity ensued.

number of people surveyed. top answer on the board. name the reason college students go to the library. according to brian mathews, librarian, college students come to the library to, wait for it, wait for it . . .

use the computers?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? SACREBLEU!!! say it ain't so. oops, sorry. please refrain from expressing that sentiment verbally, my good man.

as anyone who's anyone knows, you read the chronicle of higher education to find out what's happening in the world of academia. and in perusing said publication this morning, i found THIS!

which led to THIS!

ACK!! what is the world coming to when you can't depend on a library to be a . . . a . . .a . . . LIBRARY!!

and aye, there's the rub. for what is a library? i hear that question being asked AND answered and it includes more than just providing books (paper or electronic) or research assistance. did you know NCSU has a director of learning commons services? iiiiiit's true! (tip of the hat to paul harvey)

i went on a lackadaisical walkthrough of the upper floor of the academic library in which i spend some time and, occasionally avoid work. i found students engaged in the following:

eating - 1
sleeping - 2
chatting - 5
studying w/o laptop - 32
studying w/laptop - 38
using commons computers - 23

combining those students using computers - 61 vs. studying w/o computer - 32

i should have counted how many students w/o laptops had library books next to them. oh well. i never proclaimed to have mastered the scientific process.

what does all this mean? how the heck should i know? sorry, fellow traveler, i am only the conduit for information. i have no answers. only things for you to ponder and observe.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

20 April 2010

it's a bird, it's a plane, it's . . .

iPad to the rescue?? on the college campus? maybe yes, maybe no. comme ci comme ca.

if, dear reader, you have been a regular follower of my blog (and i KNOW you have), then you have read my previous posts regarding the amazon kindle and the colleges that engaged in pilot programs to integrate the e-reader into their libraries and curriculum.

well, basically, the amazon kindle got a grade of C- in this endeavor. but never let it be said that the walls of academia are staid and backward thinking. we forge ahead. to the 21st century and the iPad.

Reed College, one of the initial colleges to participate in the kindle project, is now doing the same thing with the iPad. no, it's true. cuz it's in the chronicle of higher education.

and it seems as though reed college isn't the only college gung-ho about this revolutionary device called the iPad: Seton Hill (not Seton Hall) is giving EVERY FULL-TIME student a brand, spanking new iPad!! woohoo! makes you wanna go back, doesn't it?

BUT . . .

leave it to the wall street journal to rain on steve jobs iParade. with a headline like IPad struggles at some colleges, what is one to think? exactly! connectivity and network issues came to my mind immediately too! [sigh]

the road through innovation is paved with hot coals.

happy reading . . . whatever the format!

11 April 2010

the ipad is . . . okay, amazing

my first, actual, real, live, impression of the apple ipad.

first of all, i would like to admit my bias up front. i like the amazon kindle. i like what it does and it does what i expect, seamlessly, effortlessly and, the best part, immediately. if i owned a kindle, i would have definitely bought a book this weekend, anxious to see the next book in a new series. $9.99 would have been burning a hole in jeff bezos' pocket\, i tell you.

i also think that comparing ipads to kindles is like comparing strawberries to bananas foster. sure there's a fruit involved, but isn't that really where the similarity ends?

having said that - the apple ipad is amazing. what's amazing about it is not so much what it does but how it does it. my friends and colleagues and i have come to the conclusion that the apple ipad is a manifestation of steve jobs' vision of computing. small, sleek, portable, ready, personalized. using an apple ipad changes how you interact with your computing machine. steve jobs wants to change HOW . . . YOU . . . LIVE. that's right. because we already live with computers. yes you do!

the first thing you notice about the ipad is its sleekness. nothing sticking out, no buttons, switches, nothing. almost like holding a thick piece of glass, and not even THAT thick. there is one "button" on the front, but it's dimpled inward. press the button and the magic begins. the screen automatically shifts between portrait and landscape depending on how you're holding it. 360 degrees. there is no up/down. right side up, upside down. it just is. the second thing you notice is the crisp visuality (is that a word?). everything is so . . . pretty. and colorful. it's almost like having a TV in your hand. but the biggest thing is the swiping. only if you work for merry maids will you do this much swiping in your lifetime . . . unless. unless swiping is the "wave" of the future. because that's what steve jobs thinks it should be. even though there is a touch keyboard on the ipad, steve jobs doesn't want you to use keyboard commands to access information. the keyboard is the most basic i've seen, including cell phone keyboards.

the beauty is in the apps. not being an apple product user, i've only heard rumors of these APPS 'they' speak of. you've heard the saying, "there's an app for that." well, i'm here to tell you . . . there is! some are free, some are reasonable and some are pricey, but they're there. they're there. i crack myself up.

so if this ipad thingie has thousands of apps for just about anything i can think of, why haven't they sold more? why isn't there a run at the pawnshop, or ebay or craigslist for PC liquidation sales?

well, one thing is cost. they are not cheap, and with the introduction of netbooks, some people may eschew pretty for function and savings.

secondly, the least expensive of the ipads is wi-fi only, vs the more expensive models which have 3G wireless built in (like the kindle -smile). that means that you would have to be at a hotspot to have internet access if you wanna be cheap.

tertiarially (is that a word? if not, it should be. i shall write oxford momentarily). it's not THAT lightweight. and it's not THAT small. granted, it's not laptop weighty, but weightier than an e-reader if that's what you're looking for.

having said all this . . . if someone were to gift me with an apple ipad, i would gladly accept it. if i had an extra 800 bucks lying around, i'm not so sure . . . yet. why?

take a gander at this and this.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

05 April 2010

reading on an iPad . . .

but not by me, unfortunately. but soon. hey, remember, don't hate the playa, hate the game. more to come, but, in the meantime . . .

here is a review about actually using the iPad for reading, courtesy of the bookcase, the blog over at bookpage.com.

and on a totally unrelated note, the winner of the 2009 diagram prize for the oddest book title is click here.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

01 April 2010


here is a follow up to yesterday's review by walt mossberg of the wall street journal. never say i don't keep you on the cutting edge of technology, innovation, information, blah, blah, blah.


31 March 2010

EXTRA, EXTRA . . . read all about the iPad

i just had to post these REAL live reviews of the iPad from REAL live experts. walt mossberg at the wall street journal has this to say - the iPad "has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop."

yes, he said it here.

david pogue of the new york times provides TWO reviews - one for techies and one for everyone else here.

after my previous post earlier this evening, in the interest of fairness, i wanted to post these right away. maybe the iPad will be the laptop killer.

happy reading . . . no matter what the format!

kindle vs. ipad - muhammad ali vs. haystacks calhoun

what? you never heard of haystacks calhoun?? the greatest wrestler ever??

well, after you edify yourself in the finer aspects of wrestling, my analogy will make more sense. for all the things boxing and wrestling have in common, they are quite different sports.

the same is true, in my opinion, about the amazon kindle and the apple ipad. please see exhibit a: an article on pc magazine's website published on january 28, 2010 entitled "will the ipad kill the kindle? of course not." the following is from the article: "E-readers are purpose-built devices, and will be relatively less expensive. Tablets like the iPad will do a lot more and will cost more as well, but may not be quite as good at providing a reading experience." (note init caps)

exhibit b: today, pc magazine's website provides this little gem: apple ipad won't be used for reading. survey says. i'm shocked, shocked i say.

i have long maintained that the amazon kindle is perfect for what it was invented and designed to do. make reading lots of books easier and more accessible. not to browse the web, not to play mp3s, etc., etc., etc.

and i'm not alone. stephen king in his april 2nd column for entertainment weekly is quoted as saying "I have no plans to get an iPad. I know it will do more things than my Kindle, but I don’t want more things. If I want other stuff — movies, TV shows, weather forecasts, the forthcoming Josh Ritter album — I have my Mac. When it comes to reading, the Kindle supplies everything I want, thanks."

so there you have it! if it's good enough for stephen king . . .

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

29 March 2010

kids say the darndest things.

well, not kid kids, but older kids, say college students. current wisdom suggests that college kids wanna be all over these new "e-books." especially, textbooks. they're not heavy, they say.

well, here are the opinions of two such college students. the first, madelyn kearns from the university of maine, is titled digital age opens new chapter on how people read books.

i'm afraid i don't agree with her viewpoint (she of the "i love the smell . . .") variety. she also makes note of "the way they (books) contrast with one another on my shelf. To scroll through my literary gems in a digital playlist feels as though some of the culture and tradition would be lost." funny, that somehow doesn't apply when mp3 users scroll through their music playlists. i haven't heard a lot of wistful nostalgia about scanning my library of CDs in their jewel cases. but, i'm just being argumentative. ok, CRANKY!

the second op-ed is from marina cella at marist college. her article is titled e-books detract from bookstore browsing experience. once again, the smell of new books seems to be the new aphrodisiac (who knew?). along with the smell of coffee. this article, i admit, made me a little cuckoo. although i think it is the author who is a little cuckoo (and, self-admittedly, clumsy). i'll let you judge this one on your own.

btw - make sure you read the comments too! the proverbial coin . . .

so, there you have it. two college students who seem to like the old-fashioned way of doing things, as long as it holds some nostalgia for them. sorry, vinyl records. maybe if you smelled better . . .

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

23 March 2010

RIP . . .ex libris?

i read. sometimes, i read a lot. and, more often in the past, i buy books. yet, i admit, that i never thought to use bookplates in my books. i've passed them in the bookstore, occasionally notice them in books, but i never thought of myself as a bookplate person.

and what does that mean, anyway? while on the googles after reading this article on the death of the bookplate, i realized that you don't have to be 'somebody' to use bookplates. as a matter of fact, it seems that'everybody' uses bookplates. even regular people, like you and me.

apparently, bookplates have been on the minds of several people lately. here's an article on bookplates from the irish times (yes, THAT ireland, where, as of this writing it is 8 degrees C in dublin which is the equivalent of the temperature here in greenville, sc. and, according to thomas cahill, "They saved the books of the Western world and left them as gifts for all humanity." but, i digress).

don't let names like rudyard kipling, charles de gaulle, george washington and harpo marx intimidate you. HARPO MARX!?!?!?!

maybe reviving an interest in bookplates will save the printed book itself? i doubt it. but a bookplating project for your own library? that's a good thing.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

22 March 2010

OMG! a serious blog!

well, for the most part. i'm linking to a video from the university of michigan press regarding scholarly publications in the digital age. i think sometimes libraries and institutions of higher learning get a bad rap as being resistant to technological innovations and digitization efforts. this short video proves otherwise. so, of course, after i watched it, i went in search of . . .

here's what i found:

Open Humanities - imagining the future of libraries [it's a long one, might wanna grab a cuppa]
university of cambridge's arcadia project [damn those brits]

i don't wanna overwhelm you since i've been away so long, so

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

13 March 2010

lazy e-reader update . . .

it's saturday morning. the sun is shining (they predicted rain), the birds are chirping, the dog is waiting, etc, etc, etc. so here's the lazy update for a naked library?

here's an updated guide to e-readers presented by the blog printes row.

and if you think you're hooked on the iPad (even though you don't even know what it is, yet), check out these alternatives from the folks at crunchgear.

and, lastly, if you'd like the soothing (okay, not so soothing) voice of a human being, check out the wall street journal's walt mossberg and his take on seeking the best e-reader.

happy reading . . . no matter the format.

11 March 2010

no more paper, no more books, no more librarian dirty looks?

even in noble institutions, at some point, there comes a sticky wicket . . . profit. profitability. profit center. revenue generation. yes, even libraries.

over on the tele-read blog, 'joanna' writes about 'another e-advantage,' no more lost library books.

she tells of her encounter with her previous local library over a 'lost' book. she claims (is sure of it) that it was returned. the library says otherwise (isn't that always the way). and now she has been billed $18. whereas, when she 'borrows' e-books, they are downloaded to her computer, read (or not) and then, 'poof, be gone,' they are gone. nothing to track, nothing to search for, nothing to return to the library (late or otherwise).

this tale of woe led me to think of other things as well, namely overdue fines. if there is no physical book to check out and/or to lose, how will that affect the income of libraries? do fines/replacement fees make up a significant amount of revenue for libraries? at the usual rate of $0.10/day, it doesn't seem like it would, but multiplied by thousands of pages and multiple branches . . .? and wouldn't it also depend on the number of scofflaws out there? are there more late book turner-inners in des moines than dubuque?

and why won't patrons renew??? it's so easy and you can usually do it online. at the most it would take a phone call to the branch. then that gives you time to find that book that you absolutely, positively know you turned back in (wink wink).

03 March 2010

my affair with the physical book continues

i've tried to leave several times. that new, flashy (well, matte white finished) kindle calls and calls. leaves messages. beckons with it's potential. and yet, i keep running back to . . . the physical book.

i came across this in my daily trawling of that darn internet thing. it's an article on the millions website, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite book-related websites. it compares the book covers of US and UK releases. very interesting. i even played a little game comparing which one i liked better with the columnist's choices. and then, of course, i started thinking of the books i've bought over the years simply based on their covers. or the blurb on the back. or the synopsis on the inside cover. yea, i know, you can get that from the online description but it's just . . . not. . . quite . . . the . . . same. [sigh]

and then i found another article on the millions website. this time about, guess what? deckled edge pages. which, faithful reader, you will recall i mentioned in my previous post, cutting edge vs. deckle edge. yes FAITHFUL reader, you DID read my last post, didn't you? i'm sure you did - i apologize for that last outburst.

so, maybe i'm not ready to go gently into that good night of e-books and e-readers. not yet, anyway. not when there are so many talented artists out there who are giving us reasons to open a book, simply by illustrating it on a book cover. and speaking of illustrating, what about all those pictures books out there with illustrators like loren long and jerry pinckney, and tasha tudor and, and, and . . .

hey, sounds like the makings of another blog posting. until then . . .

happy reading . . . no matter the format.

01 March 2010

Deckle Edge vs. Cutting Edge

so, in my quest to overwhelm myself with reading materials, i found yet another book i want to read. it's titled the infinities and the author is john banville. standard contemporary fiction, nothing out of the ordinary. and, since i've picked up a bad habit i dropped last year of buying books, i was actually thinking of purchasing said book. i did a price comparison, found the cheapest version but then i decided to check out the amazon kindle edition to see if it was $9.99. the book comparison website i used did not include the kindle edition in it's results. hmph. so off i went on an adventure and lo, and behold, i came across not one but TWO surprises. the first was that the kindle edition of the infinities was NOT, i repeat NOT, $9.99 but a WHOPPING [insert sarcasm here] THIRTEEN DOLLARS AND SIXTY-FIVE CENTS!!!!! outrageous!!! okay, maybe not so outrageous, but amazon has conditioned me to expect $9.99 and i want $9.99. somebody start a petition, stat.

but the second surprise is more surprising than the first surprise. the second surprise is that i paused while thinking about my purchase because the hardcover of the infinities comes with deckle-edge pages. oooooooh, shivers just went up me spine. you know, deckle edge? the fancy little thing they do on the edges of paper to make it look old and handmade and not machine-cut? and that reminded me of one of the physical reasons why i like reading. it also made me wonder if people got their unmentionables in a bunch when machine-cut pages came out. did it de-personalize the book? those sharp machine-cut pages can give you a nasty papercut. okay, okay, but i was just wonderin'

oh, i don't know which one i'm gonna get. knowing me, i'll probably get it from the library. but it did give me pause.

that's all. go away. nothing more to read here. what? can't you go for one post without a link? oh, okay, fine. how about this story on the future of books. printed on the kansan.com website and written by anna sobering, it sums up this post pretty well.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

25 February 2010

colleges and kindles - drumroll, please . . .

annnnnnnnnnnnnd, cymbal crash.

college and kindle. if this were a blind date, not sure they'd go back for a second malted at the ole' malt shop.

inside higher ed's steve kolowich reports several schools have finished up their amazon-sponsored kindle trials. the bottom line - students like taking notes. who knew? if they can't take notes, fuhgeddaboudit. and, as we all know, you can't take notes on a kindle dx (okay, maybe not all of us know, but a lot of us). the other bugaboos - no page numbers, no highlighting, no multiple open documents, and inadequate navigation. whine, whine, whine. just kidding.

although the article refers to princeton, case western reserve and uva's darden school of business having completed their trials, this intrepid reporter could only find the actual report from princeton. and those princetonians are on the ball, publishing a long version and a short version.

luckily for you, no location numbers here, and really, no need for annotating or note taking. just enjoy.

princeton final report

in other news:

federal agents raid gun shop - find weapons.

happy reading (in whatever format you choose).

18 February 2010

mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be e-readers

with apologies to waylon jennings and willie nelson.

mommy's got her iPad, dad's reading on his kindle, what's a technologically savvy pre-schooler to do?

this just in . . . fisher-price's iXL. (get it? i excel??)

yes that's right, now your 3-6 year old (who's amazingly above average hailing from lake wobegone) can e-read just like mommy and daddy. introducing the iXL, review courtesy of engadget.

see? this is a brilliant strategy on the part of fisher-price. if you never introduce your child to printed books in the first place . . . ahhhh, now you're getting it.

here are some other reviews of the iXL:

being nice and not naughty along with batteries required.

16 February 2010

bipartisanship? not in my backyard!

okay, here's the thing. (wait, do i always start my posts with okay?) anyway (do i use anyway too much? don't answer that!)

at my house, the only thing that is on the television from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm is msnbc and its one-hour opinion shows (at least that's what i call them). msnbc has a left-leaning (okay, they fell over) bent. i hear there is this other channel called foxnews and that they have a right-leaning (again, more than the tower of pisa lean) lineup (politically speaking).

in listening to this every weekday (thank you vince) i noticed that one topic can produce veerrrrrrrry different opinions. one topic - multiple views.

and so it is, it seems with e-readers and e-books. or books. or reading. one topic - multiple views, veerrrrrrrrrry different opinions. and some opinions, just like politics, can be downright insulting.

i pondered this (as i tend to do) and asked myself why people feel so strongly about e-reading and e-books. is it because our reading choices and experiences are so personal that we dare not mess with them? is it that we fear change and are resistant to it? maybe we just think it's a bunch of hooey. hey, i only ask the questions, i don't claim to have the answers. i was just thinkin'

here are some recent articles worth reading (however and on whatever you like):

e-readers creating new buzz in the college market
e-library economics
let's e-liminate digital books
a lindie?

and my favorite:
camel mobile library

11 February 2010

do school libraries need books?

i don't know. but that's okay. because i don't need to know. the new york times brings together five people who think THEY know. in an op-ed piece in the february 10, 2010 online new york times (sorry, i didn't read the paper paper today), five people (two authors, a library director, a professor of english and the headmaster at cushing academy) discuss this very topic in the appropriately titled, do school libraries need books?.

i have to say in skimming over the essays, i notice some assumptons made on the part of the authors, but i suppose it is an opinion, hence the 'op' in op-ed. but, imho (get it? in my humble OPINION?) it is not a zero-sum game and i don't know why the conversation seems to always move in that direction. if we can have hardback and paperback editions, why can't we add an electronic edition to the mix? we acknowledge that people have different learning styles. i'm just sayin' . . .

03 February 2010

a confession . . . of sorts

nooooo, i've not been hiking the appalachian trail. i have not fathered a child out of wedlock (that i recall) and i am not client #9. but . . .

i like e-readers and e-reading . . . dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun.

so, dear reader, if you have followed this blog, you may notice a slant toward technology and innovation. i do not apologize (okay, i'm sorry - that was a little blunt).

i'm a gadget person. even tho i may not use them to their utmost capacity, i like having gadgets (a cell phone is still a gadget). a laptop, mp3 player, karaoke machines. what? but, most of us are gadget people. we like automatic windows in our cars, cd players in our car radios, alarms on our homes, traffic lights. all technological improvements and innovations. freakin' lasers (for you dr. evil fans) GPS . . .get outta here, literally.

yet, when it comes to books, somehow, we then wish to regress. the smell, the feel, the taste, oh, wait, not taste, the print, paper, deckled edges, the cover (not judging).

e-books . . . pshaw! how will i read to my kids? what will i put on my bookshelves? how will the person across the bus aisle know i'm reading that fabulous brand new book that EVERYONE who's ANYONE is reading?

all i'm asking is to think about why you read? because for smell and feel and print and paper, you can carry the yellow pages around. and have yellow pages!! but do you share a love of reading by what you read or how the book feels. the story, the characters, the plot, the humor, the excitement, the despair. the way you're whisked away to another city, country, world, dimension, thought, opinion. what is music? the paper it's printed on? hardly. television = plastic box? movies are only as good as the screen it's projected on? reading is about being on the receiving end of a story someone wants to tell and you want to hear. audiobooks? i'm just sayin'

okay, putting soapbox back in closet. here are a few interesting articles i recently came across. if you're still on this screen, you probably dozed off. it's okay, it happens.

kindle review - publishing and books in 10 years
the gadgeteer - aluratek libre ebook reader pro (i think it's kinda ugly)
teleread - your library and the ebook format wars

02 February 2010

the final frontier . . . college textbook e-reader?

could it be? is it really? possibly? finally? here? for real and for true?

i don't know how i missed this gem from the CES held recently in Vega$. EnTourage systems has created a textbook e-reader. well, that's what fast company's website is calling it. EnTourage calls it the enTourage eDGe (i didn't make that up for those who question my lower case model). yes, the enTourage eDGe. try typing that three times fast. okay, don't.

01 February 2010

bill gates stars as . . . kreskin???

okay, if you're younger than me (no, i'm not saying), then you may not recognize the name kreskin (the amazing kreskin, that is). but if you do, congratulations!

so with that little bit of psychic trivia (i'm also available as a lifeline on who wants to be a millionaire for a small percentage), we may now move on to bill gates, multi-gazillionaire, former ceo of microsoft and current ceo of the bill & melinda gates foundation which gives gobs of money to worthy charitable endeavors.

but, never let it be said that his finger wasn't on the pulse of the future. maybe it still is. refer to exhibit A, this article in the seattle post intelligencer from 2007 with his predictions regarding 5 years hence (approx. 2012).

equally as interesting are the comments below the article. one topic addressed by the commenters is the environmental impact of e-reader device disposal. sometimes the average joe is more interested that the expert. where's al gore when you need him?

29 January 2010

okay, another serious post.

no, seriously. a few posts ago, i linked to an article regarding "the strange case of academic libraries and the e-books nobody reads," by dan d'agostino over at tele-read. well, point-counterpoint. here's a "response" from erik christopher on tele-read. well, not really a response, more like an "uh-huh, i agree, for the most part, just wanted to add my $0.02." but, never let it be said that i don't try to inform the masses.

so wile away your morning (or whenever) over the thoughts of your academic library and e-books. if your library is doing something with e-books or e-readers, let me know. inquiring minds and all that.

28 January 2010

who said i have to be fair and balanced??

okay, fine, i did. for all you haters out there, drinking the hater-ade, here is the other side of the beautiful iPad coin. the seedy, tawdry, we-think-iPad-sucks side. if there's some questionable content, hey, i never said this blog was PG-13!! anyway, have at it.

ps - i still want one!

27 January 2010

it's not a red ryder bb gun, but . . .

i didn't think anything would pull me away from the amazon kindle (which i still love and will appreciate if you send it to me). but after seeing apple's video on the ipad, I WANT ONE!!

now, do i think it's a game changer. personally, no. it's just really, really cool. i think it's more akin to a netbook than an e-reader. a big ipod. but if i were going to spend $499 or more for something color, portable and wi-fi ready, why not the iPad??

the key for academia, i think, is still textbooks. i don't see a value-added benefit to having an iPad in a library setting . . . yet. i'm sure many campuses will start to look at it and i'm anxious to see what they find. (i'm hoping my campus will be one of them - fred?? fred??)

anyway, enuf about me. here are some initial responses to the iPad. i still want one.

los angeles times
wsj's walt mossberg
new york times' david pogue
tech journalists/bloggers

you'll find me most days at the james b duke library at furman university if you should decide that generosity is a virtue and making an old woman's simple dream of owning an iPad a reality. blessing you in advance, i am sincerely yours.

26 January 2010

is the apple tablet the electronic holy grail for higher ed?

apparently not. in fact, it's going to wipe higher ed off the planet!!! okay, i exaggerate. but it may be made irrelevant according to the foks over at the website good. the article is titled could the apple tablet make higher ed irrelevant? wow!! what a headline. fortunately, that's not quite what they mean. the headline maybe should have said something like could the apple table change the college campus? not as exciting, tho, huh? didn't get your heart a-pumping or your blood a-boiling? anyway, it's a short article so take a gander. then scroll down to see a couple of other interesting articles while we wait for apple tablet day tomorrow! it's almost like christmas, except without the FREE goodies.:(

25 January 2010

and now a word from . . .

the darden graduate school of business at the university of virginia'. don't you love the way i keep you guessing?? this is a podcast that uva produces and a few minutes in, there's an update on the kindle project with michael koenig, operations director of darden's mba program. just so you know, if you click on 'play now,' don't click on the little speaker icon. if you do, one will start after the other and then you'll hear both and you'll think you've gone schizo. trust me, i speak from experience.

20 January 2010

tick, tick, tick . . . 60 seconds

is that enough time to conduct a survey? apparently, for the library research service the answer is YES! what is the future of the book? here are the results.

i decided to look at this library research service a little closer. they have a lot of information on colorado libraries. i think they're located in colorado.

they ask a lot of questions and produce a lot of reports. they also reference other surveys and reports, like this one on academic libraries.

oh, the air is heady up here.

think about think

no, not about thinking. think. think is the magazine of case western university. yes, they have their own online magazine. and, within the colorful 'pages' of yon magazine is this article called the digital divide. Case Western Reserve is one of seven colleges and universities that have an agreement with Amazon.com to give the Kindle DX a test run on their campuses. The others are Arizona State, Princeton, Pace, Reed, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington.

alas, dear readers, this will send me on a quest to find information on the other trials that are going on. i think i've mentioned the princeton one to you in previous posts.

i, dear reader, never sleep . . . always on the prowl for new information for your edification (and her own).

17 January 2010

i've been punked

imagine my surprise when i woke up to my sunday new york times this morning (on the web, of course). the pic to the left was attached to the arts/books column. i thought, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum (okay, cup of coffee), i've got an e-related article. one click turned into two turned into three turned into a back click and a scan and a click and, okay, you get the picture. apparently that's ALL you get, because there wasn't an article in the bunch on ANYTHING e-related. e-books, e-readers, netbooks, tablets, nothin'. i was punked!

luckily for you, dear reader, my spidey sense was tingling (along with my google reader) and i KNEW there was something out there. here, in no particular order, are some interesting articles (yes, i'm being lazy - i can't entertain you people every time, it's NFL playoff time).

16 January 2010

a rose by any other name???

once again, the scope of this blog is expanding . . . kinda. in the discussion regarding the future of a library without books, i suppose that we have to re-define what a library is. and, in turn, a librarian.

seth godin, writes business books, most notably "Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (available for the kindle for $9.99)."

senor godin has a blog (who doesn't, right??), seth's blog so as not to be confused with bob's blog, and he ruminates on the future of the library.

BUT . . . just when you thought libraries and librarians were unappreciated comes 85 reasons to be thankful for librarians,courtesy of zencollegelife.com. i know what you're thinking . . . only eighty-five??!! baby steps, people, baby steps.

there are some excellent reasons to love librarians, and in turn libraries. some important (#27), some humorous (#s 33, 34). and some (#s 10, 13, 43) that may make you wonder if libraries ARE still relevant in their current form.

things that make you go hmmmmm . . . that's what i'm here for. my work here is done (for today).

12 January 2010

back down memory lane . . . tra la la

1994. gas was $1.09/gallon. OJ Simpson invented the slow car chase. Forrest Gump married his Jen-nay. And you read your newspaper on a tablet. remember? huh? wha?? what chu talkin' bout robyn? apple hasn't even come out with it's tablet yet? put down that wine glass.

whoa, first of all, it's kool-aid and second of all, check this out!! the huffington post introduces us to an idea that the knight-ridder organization came up with SIXTEEN years ago!! like panasonic, just slight ahead of their time. kight-ridder actually had an information design lab whose job was to come up with innovative solutions for media. and what did they come up with. it was a . . . wait for it. . . TABLET!! take a look at the video (it's 15 minutes but the nostalgia alone is worth it.)

innovation whose time has finally come?

09 January 2010

CES e-reader round-up

there are a lot of pretty smart and attentive people out there. lucky for you! it's 23 degrees outside and i'm not going anywhere. hopefully, it's warmer in las vega$, where the consumer electronics show is winding down. and open publishing lab is at the show and they have posted a pretty neat list of the e-readers that were at the show. more to come . . .

i don't digress . . . the consumer electronics show

yes, one of the biggest trade shows in the nation, the 2010 consumer electronics show (CES) is going on in las vega$, and luckily for us, what's happening in vega$ this week, will NOT stay in vega$. i dream of attending one day. what is CES anyway? it is an EXTRAVAGANZA. of course there are every type of celebrity imaginable: james patterson (author), tyson gay (olympian), james worthy (NBA) ,stan lee (comic genius), tommy lee (musician and ex-mr. pamela anderson) and, of course, lady gaga (???). just kidding - lady gaga is the newest smash singer on the scene right now. but the real celebrities this week - the ELECTRONICS. and among those are E-READERS. take a gander at the explosion of e-book readers planned for 2010, thanx to the nytimes. and check out the san francisco chronicle's coverage of e-readers at the CES. coast-to-coast coverage! it's going to be an exciting time for this technology, but i still haven't seen anything yet to rival the kindle, simply because of the amount of books available for it directly through amazon. displays are nice, but it's the content that matters, imho. i predict lots of partnerships between e-reader manufacturers, publishers, and content providers. let the races begin!

07 January 2010


well, just when i thought there was a drought on academia-related e-reader news . . . voila!

it has a college - princeton. it has a professor - katz. it has an e-reader - kindle. you'll laugh, you'll cry. okay, probably not. but you will learn about a real-life experience of using (or trying to use) a kindle in the classroom at the post-secondary level.

but, wait, there's more. heard the one about academic libraries and the e-books nobody wants to read?? no? well, i have. and now, you have. not for the faint of heart, i tell you.

never say i'm not working for you, pounding the pavement, to get the stories that will inform and delight you. i know, i know . . . you're welcome.

is this blog titled correctly??

okay, i know what you've been thinking (that's right). why is this named a naked library? is she ever going to write about libraries? or anything academic for that matter? i was actually thinking about this the other day. is there anything going on with e-readers and academia?? can i just not find the information? is it hush-hush? well . . .

one - here's something librarian-ish and e-book-ish. the strange case of academic libraries and e-books nobody wants to read is an interesting observation on the relationship between academic libraries and publishers and mis-steps libraries made upon the advent of e-reading. the author, dan d'agostino is a new contributor to the tele-read blog, and could be considered an expert in the field. he is the collection development librarian at a large research library. so there! credentialized.

two - i think i'm going to have to change the title of my blog. it will still be about libraries and schools and what i like to call 'e-iterations.' that is, all the things i can find e-book or e-reader related (that i think is interesting - quite subjective). but what i've realized is this is an extremely exciting and, for some, troubling time - for libraries, schools, publishers, bookstores, consumers. 2010 will probably be seen as the year of 'e.' at least a dozen e-readers are scheduled to hit the markets, probably more. some manufacturers are producing 2 or 3 models at a time. not to mention the different e-ink formats and color. PLUS . . . HP/Microsoft's Courier and Apple's (no it does not exist *wink wink* iSlate).

but i love the name 'a naked library?' oh well . . . cest la vie. i'll think about it tomorrow. after all, tomorrow is another day. (i got that outta book).

06 January 2010

would you like that nytimes subscription? 'e' or 'p'?

ACK! (is that a word?)

what in h-e-double hockey sticks is nicholas carson of the silicon alley insider trying to do?? what of the poor advertisers? how will i know which razor to shave with and soap to shower with?? is he a secret agent for amazon?? is he a basher of books? is he predicting the demise of the printed newspaper?? (insert music of impending doom *here*).

nah . . . just observing the price of printing the times versus giving every subscriber a kindle. if you know me, you know i LOVE the kindle, so i would subscribe in a new york minute (get it?). would you? what if the e-subscription was cheaper? or they bundled a print and 'e' subscription but you paid a little more? hmmmmmm . . .

in other news, cincinnati just bought 10 kindles! yes, the city. yes, to save money. i don't know. stop asking questions.

ps - okay, in other other news, i had to update. another reason to stay away from e-readers. whatever will i do to stay warm?

02 January 2010

happy new year . . . everything old is new again!

greetings and happy new year! i hope that 2010 will be everything you want it to be and even more.

and speaking of more, in 2010 there will definitely be MORE e-readers and MORE debate about e-readers, e-books and e-verything associated with them.

to start off the new decade, this little ditty is from the opinion page of the new york times website. titled 'does the brain like e-books," five fairly smart (it IS the new york times, you know) individuals from varying backgrounds discuss . . . reading! in all it's glory! electronic vs. print. retention. comprehension. blah, blah, blah - oh wait, i mean extremely titillating and engrossing opinion.

since i started this little blog experiment, i've realized that the subject of e-books and e-reading is almost as volatile as the public option. so that must mean that this is an important time in history. i'm not sure if it's a technological, or monographical, or educational milestone. a combination of all of them, i suspect, and probably more. throw money into the mix (and an apple iTablet or iSlate or iSomething or other that will take over the world) and it should be an exciting (or at least interesting) 2010. i'll try to keep you posted. when i'm not reading.