02
Dec
08

who wants a digital book….me!

Ok so here is an article on digital books, almost more of a creative writing piece than the normal script one finds on blogs or in articles. But the point is still the same, books are being taken from the public domain, scanned and are now available in digital formats for reading.

More books and more options as to………..

I imagine it will be countless, but the article by Edward Rothstein gives some light to the possiblities. And as this article was written in 2007, well I am sure there are a bit more by now. In the article a man by the name of Mr. Seltzer (not quite sure who he is, a little lacking in introduction) is scanning all these books. Mr. Seltzer “has been taking public domain books from the Internet along with government reports and combining them with convenient indexes in thematic digital collections” (Rothstein, April 2007). Mr. Seltzer makes these books available through his site and also for free on the Internet. He also “provides a trial version of ReadPlease, a program that reads the books aloud; it is impressive, though far more mechanical than the humanly skilled readings that can be purchased through sites like Audible.com. Mr. Seltzer explained by e-mail message that his customers include blind readers who use the texts with this software (like “a blind professor of classical languages in Sri Lanka”); other customers include “ a cross-country truck driver who has his laptop convert the texts to voice” as he drives and a British teacher in Myanmar who uses electronic books because the government there makes it so difficult to find printed ones” (Rothstein, April 2007).

So you say, cool, I want to get involved. Well, check out LibriVox and start creating your own digital books for you or someone else who needs them.

 

Rothstein, Edward. 2007. The New York Times. Sampling, if not digesting, the digital library. April 9.

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02
Dec
08

digital rap, yo!

Well, I will admit I wasn’t even cool enough to find this video on my own but it is so awesome I just had to share it with you all. I found it on ilibrarian just to give credit where it is due. It’s a rap video on how to make a good website, yes, that’s what I said. Forget a book on web design, go with the rap. Steve Krugman might want to include this as a CD in his next book.

This probably would have fit a bit better into Doc Martens web design class but here it is anyway…ENJOY!

30
Nov
08

Kill your television

Well, maybe now it should read “trade in your TV for a computer” or “kill you computer”. I think the original point was to get rid of it altogether, to end the pointless hours of clicking from channel to channel looking for a program to watch; time wasters.  But how many people would actually say kill you computer, because we all love what they do for us, they provide far more than hours of channel surfing hoping to find something worthy of watching. 

For good or bad the television seems to be infringing upon computers. Consumers can check out free sites such as hulu and sky, even imdb to find TV shows and movies not to mention paid sites like Netflix. And yet, even with the invasion, I am glad that there is some freedom to watch a show without waiting or looking or 20 minutes of commercials.

Because computers offer so much more than a TV ever did, I don’t expect any kill your computer bumber stickers to start surfacing. It might be hard for us to count all the things we do on a computer, some of which include paying bills, taking a class, looking up news or weather, talking to a friend, social networking, shopping, listening to music, going to the library, looking at photos and on and on. Should I be surprised that TV shows and movies are now freely or not freely available?

Will computers totally replace TV at some point? I don’t know but check out this article by IBM. They are reporting a decline of TV in favor of other digital devices. Ultimately consumers don’t want to be spoon fed programmes and digital media allows for interaction and choice. Pretty soon, not having a TV will probably not mean what it once did. Who cares if you have a computer!

My opinion is that this trend will only continue to grow. But these damn add mongrels with all their money…well lets just say I hope the invasion is kept at a minimum. I hate advertising and I pay for a service to avoid this defamation of my (and the entire publics) intelligence and time.

So what are your thoughts, ready to kill your television?

18
Nov
08

i’m a digital librarian and so can you…..

Well for the past 3 or 4 weeks I have been attempting to create my own digital collection rather than read about other digital collections and it is not nearly as fun as I thought it would be, in fact it is no fun at all. A few words that come to mind are boring, monotonous, repetitive, slow, time consuming and did I already say BORING! Well unfortunately in order to create a digital collection there must be someone to create it and for now that’s me. 

I recently read an article from D-lib magazine titled “How to Build a Digital Librarian” and thought it could help me out a bit; relevant to my digital collection building. Because, as the article states, one must have a digital librarian to create the digital collection. Hastings and Tennant note that:

“Digital libraries require digital librarians. Digital collections must be selected, acquired, organized, made accessible, and preserved. Digital services must be planned, implemented, and supported. Computers are certainly essential as the primary tools with which digital libraries are built, but people are required to put it all together and make it work” (D-lib 1996).

“Organizing a digital collection has very little in common with organizing a print collection in terms of day-to-day work and individual tasks that must be accomplished. Present day digital librarians find themselves doing almost nothing they learned in graduate school and very little that is familiar. Furthermore, the technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that what is learned today will soon be outdated”.

I will say that although I didn’t instructionally learn how to build digital collections in library school (as in sit in class and do this and do that), I do have a class called digital collections where we are of course learning about digital collections and I have been assigned to create a digital collection. It is hands on learning by doing, research, read and try to build a collection if possible.

I am at a bit of an advantage as I have access to a scanner thanks to the Metropolitan Library System, which is very necessary if the collection you are trying to make digital is in print. So a fellow and very awesome librarian showed me how to use the scanner and photo-shop and save for the web and so I made a folder and uploaded the pictures to Flickr. I am temporarily housing my digital collection there because it is available and I don’t have to download software and so on. Well the scanning, photo-shopping, naming and saving actually took a really long time and now that the photos are on-line I have to put in all the information, this is even more no fun stuff.

So that’s where I am right now, entering data for each scanned picuture. I’m sorry the only fun I am having is getting to look through all the yearbooks….wow….I can’t believe girls really had hair that big. And I must say I am glad there is no longer such as club as retail sales, yuck!

So I guess I’m a digital librarian and if you want to be one to try building a digital collection or read this article it’s pretty interesting.

 

09
Nov
08

Huun Huur Tu – Tuvan Throat Singers

Well readers it’s not digital, but with all the talk about library’s as a physical space having no future, I thought I would tell you about the throat singers. Huun-Huur-Tu (Tuvan: xün xürtü) literally means “sun propeller.” The vertical separation of light rays that often occurs just after sunrise or just before sunset. For the members of Huun-Huur-Tu, the refraction of light that produces these rays seems analogous to the “refraction” of sound that produces articulated harmonics in Tuvan throat-singing. In the case of Huun-Huur-Tu…the art of imitation is rooted in a centuries-old world view of music as an offering, as opposed to the commercial vehicle catering to the least common denominator we’ve come to expect. The end result is a strange, beautiful tapestry of sound and rhythm that taps into something more real, more authentic, than anything you’ll likely find on the American musical landscape.”

This group has been performing at several metropolitan libraries and today, Sunday the 9th they performed at the downtown library with…..drumroll please….305+ in attendance. WOW! Go library programs.

And thanks to the digital collection of videos on Youtube, if you were not able to see them in person you can listen on-line.

02
Nov
08

digital collections on flickr

I have just learned about and am very impressed with the Manitoba Historical Maps project. Maps that would have previously been unseen have been scanned (are still being scanned) and offered to anyone one in the world with access to Flickr. Of course the project is on-going. The goal “of the historical maps of Manitoba digital collection will be the identification, location, scanning and displaying of these intriguing images over the Internet” (Laliberte, Larry).

In order to make this project possible, a flatbed scanner with high resolution was purchased. The scanner can digitize the printed maps up to 24 by 36 inches and then save the image in several file formats. “Once a map is scanned, the digital image and associated meta-data (title, author, publisher, year, scale, legend information, etc.) are uploaded to Flickr.

Flickr, in its primary function, is a repository for photographs. So why put the maps on Flickr? Because they are a graphic records says Laliberte. Not to mention “FLickr…….provides a flexible set of tools for uploading, organizing, annotating, creating meta-data or tagging, embedding, downloading, and sharing (digital maps)” (Laliberte). Equally as impressive is the RSS function on Flickr, which alerts subscribers to MHMP when new maps have been added to the site. And if that is not enough for you there are also features such as user comments, discussion, notes for image, links, using the mouse to scroll over the maps and highlight important attributes and daily user statistics. Laliberte notes that one of the only limitations to Flickr is the inability to zoom and pan. Many repositories who have digital map collections use Zoomify which enables the zoom and pan. But Laliberte is confident that as new software is constantly being added to Flickr, Zoomify will arrive shortly.

So, have a look at the Manitoba Maps project, it is very cool. But I must say what I think is even cooler is what is happening on Flickr. I have not ever used the site except to view photos (especially me as a zombie librarian in the Ghouls Gone Wild parade)! I think we are going to see some interesting things happening on Flickr in the future, this is a very exciting development. I am anxious now to see what other digital collections I can find.

In fact, I hope to find my own collection as I am so impressed I am hoping Doc Martens will let me use Flickr for my digital collection of yearbooks. I really want to try it out. It’s free, will allow metadata, tagging,etc and will solve my current problem of lack of access. What do you think Doc?

 

Liliberte, Larry. 2008. Picture the map: An online cartographic collection of maintoba history using   “Flickr”. Manitoba Historical Society (57): 29-32.