Friday, December 11, 2009

Blackwell will close in Lake Oswego, eliminating 139 jobs | Oregon Business News - OregonLive.com

Blackwell North America gave me one of my first jobs in the book business, and I am sorry to see them go. More importantly, I am sorry to see the unhealthy trend toward consolidation in the industry.


Blackwell will close in Lake Oswego, eliminating 139 jobs | Oregon Business News - OregonLive.com: "Blackwell will close in Lake Oswego, eliminating 139 jobs
By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian
December 08, 2009, 6:49PM

A day after completing its acquisition of Blackwell North America, Charlotte-based book and multimedia distributor Baker & Taylor Inc. said it will shut Blackwell's customer service and sales operation in Lake Oswego and eventually eliminate 139 jobs.

Oregon's Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development received an official Warn Act notice of the layoffs on Tuesday.

The layoffs will begin Feb. 7, the company said in the notification.

The layoffs stem from a business swap in which Baker & Taylor acquired the U.S. and Australian operations of Blackwell United Kingdom and Blackwell acquired Baker & Taylor's Lindsay and Croft business in Britain.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Neither company returned calls seeking comments.

Blackwell's U.S. operations, including its sales and customer service office in Lake Oswego, will now be managed by Baker & Taylor's YBP Library Services. The Lake Oswego functions will be handled out of YBP's office in New Hampshire."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Evernote Raises $10 Million From Investors - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

Evernote Raises $10 Million From Investors - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

I have been using Evernote for a few weeks, and am amazed by its functionality, and by the powerful ways creative people have found to use it. The article linked above describes some of them, as well as giving some company history. I thought at first that it was just an online notepad, but it can be used for everything from a basic GTD system to a detailed inventory control system.

I have to admit that I am using the free version, and only because my Blackberry doesn't have an easy way to wirelessly sync between the built-in notepad app and an app that I can use on my laptop, particularly with a web-based one, preferably a Google-based one. The free version works fine for me.

Even if Outlook could handle pictures and other file formats, I wouldn't t want to sync with Outlook because I went beyond it years ago. It was a great program for the 1980s and early 1990s, but its architecture makes it a boat anchor on productivity, today. Besides, you need a full-time IT department to keep it working correctly, and even if I had a full-time IT department, I wouldn't have the clout to get them to hang around my office to keep my Outlook working right. Outlook is great if you're a high level exec at a big company. If you're a free lancer, a small business person, or someone who doesn't report directly to a high level exec, then you'd better look at alternatives that you can manage on your own.

As for using the built-in software that came with my Blackberry, the thought of going through the hassle of tethering the BB with a cable and using the clunky sync software that came with it is more than I want to deal with. I want less hassle in life, not more. If I had the proverbial nickel for every hour I have spent waiting while my hand-held synced with my laptop over the last twenty years, I could retire early. I don't want to have to sit around my office and fool with this stuff when I could be out the door at the end of the day, or maybe off to a meeting during work hours.

I also use Remember the Milk, which has an excellent wireless sync system with the BB task manager, but RTM is a task manager not a note organizer. It won't do things like keep track of digital photos of my favorite meals, etc. It's great when the task falls outside of email.

As for my real GTD system, I use GTDInbox, and I love it so much that I am helping them with their marketing and the roll-out as they move into a revenue-generating company, after four years of development. I spend most of my life in email, so being able to use it to track and manage my projects and tasks without leaving email, and without keeping a separate task manager in sync with my email is invaluable. It saves me hours every week. Truthfully, it probably saves me a day every week, when I look at how long I used to have to spend on my weekly reviews. Now, I get them done in under an hour.

To see that Evernote has received capital from a major VC firm really confirms my intuition that they are onto something great. We all have a million things to keep track of, and a lot of the time we need to make up our categories as we go.

Bottom Line: If you're not using Evernote, then give it a try. I think you'll be very pleased.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm on Google Wave, finally

I requested invitations from Google several times, with no response, but then last week I got irate and told Google that I was their ideal tester, since I live in email and communicate with co-workers and customers in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. A few nights later, the invitation arrived. I got it on my Blackberry as I was walking from the gym back to my car, after work. Needless to say, I cut short my evening activities so I could get back to the office and join the Wave adventure.

Being a careful sort, I worked my way through LifeHacker's book on how to use Wave before I actually logged onto it. Once onto it, I could see it was completely different from what I had hoped for. I was looking for a way to integrate my online communication, which comes in via email, chat, SMS, Twitter, FB, etc., so that even though I have the ultimate email-based GTD system in place, there are a lot of messages (meaning tasks and projects) that have to happen outside of email.

Wave is actually a real-time document sharing and editing system. Imagine creating an article in a wiki and then inviting a lot of people to add to it as they chose, or you could do the same in Google Docs. Rather than creating an email thread, Wave creates a shared document. It looks a lot like an email thread in Gmail. The strength of this approach is that it does facilitate real-time communication among potentially large groups of people. The weakness of it is that it does the same, so you can easily end up with a lot of text and opinions flowing at a high rate of speed. Every time I log into Wave, I have to read through all the messages (think posts and comments in the blog format) that have been added since I was last on it. I could find only four of my friends already on Wave (and they must not be thrilled with it, since none of them responded to my Waves at them, meaning they are not logging on very often), so I have been participating in several public waves, and I have not yet gotten any experience in waving among small groups. Wave keeps the discussion arranged in an orderly, easily-understood way, even though the message volume and number of participants is high. For instance, the Software Roles in Education wave has over 145 participants. The List of Things Google Wave Will Kill wave has over 440. Most of these are talkative people with a lot of insight, and they all contribute multiple comments, so this is a lot of thinking to keep track of. Wave does a great job. However, the truly outstanding thing that Wave does is make all this happen in real time. You can actually watch the characters appear on the screen, as people type. (Some users have complained about this and seen it as a negative. They believed it made their thought processes too public. I would recommend that they draft their messages off-line, then. That is simple enough. I do it all the time in email so I don't send half-baked ideas in poorly drafted prose to people who need well thought-out ideas in carefully crafted prose featuring actionable bullet points. This is more of an issue for a work flow and writing discussion, and is neutral as far as platform.)

So, to conclude, after only a few days on Wave, here is my last post to the Is Email Better than Wave wave:

I think it is premature to attempt such a judgment. Wave is still in pre-release development, and there are insufficient users to test it fully. The basic concept of creating a shared, real-time, document among a work group is sound and will no doubt be useful, though this has been possible with wikis and Google Docs for some time. I think that as Wave is opened to more users, and as the slowness and other problems are worked out, the creative mind of the user collective will discover and develop uses that we cannot now imagine. 

If you are on Wave, please connect with me. My name on it is staffordpeyton@googlewave.com.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

District Dispatch » House re-introduces SKILLs Act emphasizing role of school librarians

District Dispatch » House re-introduces SKILLs Act emphasizing role of school librarians

Note from Peyton: This is critical legislation because it can assure that students have the support and expertise of qualified librarians in school libraries.

House re-introduces SKILLs Act emphasizing role of school librarians
October 30th, 2009 | Category: OGR, School Libraries

The Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries Act, or the SKILLs Act, was re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week with support from both sides of the aisle. This legislation is intended to ensure that all students will have the support and resources they need for a quality education by establishing a goal that all public school libraries employ no less than one highly qualified school library media specialist.

H.R. 3928 was introduced by Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI-3) and was referred to the House Education and Labor Committee.

In 2007 the SKILLs Act was introduced in the 110th Congress by both Reps. Grijalva and Ehlers and received 30 cosponsors. This SKILLs Act was also introduced in the U.S. Senate in the 110th Congress by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and received bi-partisan sponsorship from Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), John Kerry (D-MA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). There is no Senate legislation yet in the 111th Congress. In the 110th Congress, the SKILLs Act failed to be reported out of committee.

Jeff Kratz
Assistant Director, OGR

ALA | Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study

ALA | Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study:

Now published: Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2008-2009
About the Study

Today’s public libraries are vital community technology hubs that millions of Americans rely on for their first and often only choice for Internet access. Despite increased demand for library computers, however, libraries typically have not seen a corresponding increase in budgets and many are challenged to provide enough computers or fast-enough connection speeds to meet demand.

The Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study is a multi-year project that builds on the longest-running and largest study of Internet connectivity in public libraries. The study assesses public access to computers, the Internet and Internet-related services in U.S. public libraries, as well as the impact of library funding changes on connectivity, technology deployment and sustainability in FY2007-2009.

Built on the longest-running and largest study of Internet connectivity in public libraries, begun in 1994 by John Carlo Bertot and Charles R. McClure, this study provides information that can help library directors and library IT staff benchmark and advocate for technology resources in communities across the nation. The data are also of importance for policymakers at local, state, and federal levels, manufacturers of information and communication technologies, and the communities served.

The project is made possible by a generous donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the American Library Association."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Federated Search Across Multiple Book Sources Including Major Online Stores with Q-Sensei

I was looking for a way to search multiple online book retailers, when I found the Q-Sensei plug-in for Firefox. It worked perfectly, and I have added a Q-Sensei search box to this blog because I like it so well.

If you are a librarian, a  book lover or someone who often needs to locate books that are difficult to find, I highly recommend that you try Q-Sensei. Better yet, if you use Firefox as your browser, install the plug-in so you can do a federated search of multiple sources with a single click from the ISBN.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Real-Time Global (and local) Twitter Topic Trends on http://trendsmap.com

This is so cool that I have reset my homepage in Firefox to it so I can look at it whenever I launch my browser. Trendsmap is a world map showing current Twitter trends with a tag field. You can zoom in to your local area, but I like looking at the whole world and seeing the big picture of what twits are into at the moment. Ten minutes ago, it was the Yankees. Right now, it's Obama signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (Remember 1998 when some redneck Texans tied a black man to the back of their pickup and dragged him to death? About the same time, some Montanans beat up a gay man, tied him to a barbed wire fence, and left him to die.) Maybe tomorrow, the twits will be more cheerful.

Anyway, my point is that Trendsmap gives you an immediate global (or local) view of what is in the public mind. Whether you are a librarian on the front lines of reference desk work or a publisher marketing expert working in the quiet of your office, this is invaluable information.

If you missed an event (and who doesn't?) Trendsmap even has a few historical videos so you can see

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Globalis - an interactive world map

Globalis - an interactive world map

Have you ever tried to figure out the relative land mass of Greenland and Australia? Or have you wondered about global warming trends, or population density trends? Here is a UN project that produces maps showing these and other factors as they impact life on planet earth. Well worth bookmarking and exploring!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Company - Emergence of new business models

Company - Emergence of new business models

This is an article published in the Frankfurt Book Fair newsletter about the variety of e-book pricing models under consideration. It includes figures from a poll conducted by the fair, buchreport magazine and Publishers Weekly.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Boy Lifts Book; Librarian Changes Boy's Life : NPR

Boy Lifts Book; Librarian Changes Boy's Life : NPR


We may be living in the future, now, but this story shows how wonderfully effective librarians have been at making life better for a long time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Econundrum: Kindles vs. Books | Mother Jones

Econundrum: Kindles vs. Books | Mother Jones

Interesting article that attempts to evaluate the relative CO2 footprint of consumers buying printed books, buying Kindle books or borrowing books from the local library. It omits quantitative studies of public library operation including heating/cooling, etc., (if they exist) as well as the unforeseen effects on publishing economics if book buyers all became book borrowers. Interesting, still the same.

The most interesting and sure point it makes is that at 474 pounds per year of carbon emission plus the emissions involved in creating it, the typical TV set is worse on the environment than borrowing or buying one's books.

Glad I gave away that 13 inch TV in 1984. Haven't missed it since.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Voter Survey on Libraries

Texas Voter Survey on Libraries

This is very encouraging. Whether Democrat, Independent or Republican, Texas voters support increased public library funding and full support of school libraries. It would be interesting to see if other states have comparable data and how the data matches with aggregate voting behavior and budgeting practices.

Friday, September 18, 2009

MetaRasa™ Personality Radar of Me!

Open Access to Scientific Papers via ResearchGATE

This information came via email. ResearchGATE is an online scientific community, which is offering a practical way for scientists to make their published papers available to other scientists that do not have access to highly expensive traditional scientific journals.


---------------------------------------


ResearchGATE.net is pleased to share the following updates from your Scientific Network.

Open Access on ResearchGATE

The last few weeks have been big here at ResearchGATE. We have surpassed the 140,000 member mark and have introduced our international Job Board for Science and Higher Education. But today is set to be even bigger as we launch our Self-Archiving Repository. This will make full-text articles available to the public, for free – the first application of its kind worldwide!

Currently, there is no way for researchers to access millions of publications in their full version online. ResearchGATE is now changing this by enabling users to upload their published research directly to their profile pages (a system called the "green route" to Open Access). Our publication index, containing metadata for 35 million publications, will be automatically matched with the SHERPA RoMEO data set of journal and publisher's self-archiving agreements. As a result, authors will know which versions of their articles they can legally upload. Since nine out of ten journals allow self-archiving, this project could give thousands of researchers immediate access to articles that are not yet freely available.

Our Self-Archiving Repository does not infringe on copyrights because each profile page within ResearchGATE is legally considered the personal website of the user (and the majority of journal publishers allow articles to be openly accessible on personal homepages). Therefore, each user can upload his or her published articles in compliance with self-archiving regulations. Our publication index makes every publication identifiable and is searchable. Since each profile is networked to the larger platform, the uploaded resources will form an enormous pool of research for our members. Of course, it's free of charge, like the all the other resources at ResearchGATE.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ALA | New book censorship map reveals national problem

ALA | New book censorship map reveals national problem

Now this is a shock! Both left and right want to censor. Too bad Ray Bradbury is gone. If you click on the balloons you see that these challenges come from left as well as right. The only thing they have in common is that they don't believe that people can think for themselves, and hence need supervision by the group that puts forth the challenge.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mixed-polymer recycling: The plastic sausage machine | The Economist

Mixed-polymer recycling: The plastic sausage machine | The Economist

Disposal of plastics and the difficulties involved in recycling them has been a major environmental problem for decades. Now a British firm has developed a method and put into production a factory for recycling mixed plastics of any kind into something similar to plywood.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

June 2009 eBook sales stats -- 136% increase over June 2008

(These are the official stats from the IDPA, which is the part of the AAP for digital publishers, as released this morning. These are US-only figures and represent wholesale rather than retail, so the retail figures could be twice as high.)


eBook sales statistics for June 2009 have been released from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) who collects these statistics in conjunction with the IDPF.

Trade eBook sales were $14,000,000 for June, a 136.2% increase over June 2008 ($5,900,000).

Calendar Year to Date sales are up + 149.3%

Q2 2009 wholesale trade sales were $37,600,000

A couple of observations indicating the growth we are seeing.

  • First two quarters of 2009 have already surpassed total of all 2008 wholesale trade sales.
  • June 2009 wholesale trade sales were $14,000,000 which is highest single month thus far. April 2009 wholesale trade was previous high at $12,100,000
  • Q1 2009 set the previous bar for trade wholesale for the 12 – 15 trade publishers at $25,800,000, which has been surpassed by Q2 09.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Technological Evolution Stirs a Publishing Revolution - Knowledge@Wharton

Technological Evolution Stirs a Publishing Revolution - Knowledge@Wharton

Quite an interesting high level analysis of the Kindle and the Espresso Book Machine, and of how they fit into the overall economics of publishing.

State of the Art - Amazon’s E-Book Rival, Barnes and Noble, a Paper Tiger, for Now - NYTimes.com

State of the Art - Amazon’s E-Book Rival, Barnes and Noble, a Paper Tiger, for Now - NYTimes.com

This is an excellent critique, not only of the differences between Amazon's and Barnes & Noble's e-book business and technology models, but also of the current state of e-books compared with print books.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Google Engineering Director Spells Out Vision for the Future of Digital Books - mediabistro.com: BayNewser


Google Engineering Director Spells Out Vision for the Future of Digital Books - mediabistro.com: BayNewser

This is quite interesting because it goes far beyond Google's plans for out-of-copyright and OOP books. I like the idea of having the book files in the cloud, but I don't see why they have to be on Google's servers. There's no reason they couldn't reside on other servers. The main idea, though, is that readers would have permanent rights to their e-books, and that they could read their books on any hardware platform. This would solve a big problem and prevent monopolistic companies from dominating the e-book market. The other good idea is that with the spread of the Espresso Book Machine and similar instant book printing devices, this model would support rather than undermine independent bookstores.

Two big questions about e-book licensing remain unanswered: can these books be re-sold and can they be bequeathed as part of an estate? I think the answer for e-books will always be negative because publishers will not want to lose control of the content or to allow a used e-book market to open up.

Review of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book confirmed a lot of what I have thought about the necessary confluence of opportunity, ability and dedication that seems to be the necessary and sufficient condition for success; however, I think Gladwell's strongest point has to do with education and the possibility of modifying social institutions in order to provide opportunities to succeed to the millions of people around the world who, no matter how talented and dedicated they may be, are shut out because of their location, their birth date or some other factor that could be compensated for. As a global culture, we do not need to continue allowing such factors to become disabilities. Relatively simple steps, such as providing year-round schooling for children so that children from uneducated families do not fall increasingly behind their middle- and upper-class peers (who benefit from formal and informal instruction during the long US summer break while the lower-class students are left to entertain themselves), could give millions of young people the opportunity to succeed. Likewise, grouping students by the quarter in which they were born rather than by the year would reduce the unfair inequity of having children nearly a year younger than some of their classmates compete against the older children.

I was more impressed by Outliers than I was by Tipping Point, though I thought it was a great book, too. Outliers was, as Gladwell said, a very personal book for him. Had he not benefited from a series of happy coincidences that led him to excel professionally, he would have been yet another bright, under-employed adult. Anyone with an interest in social justice and education should definitely read this book. Even more so, anyone who is working to improve society should read it for its inspiring ideas.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, July 30, 2009

LinkedIn | Publishing and editing professionals Group News

LinkedIn | Publishing and editing professionals Group News

This is amazing. They have created an online expert AI platform so that anyone can build an expert system and market it. I haven't tried it, yet, but plan to when I get some down time, next month.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fake online reviews draw NY suit - DMNews

Fake online reviews draw NY suit - DMNews

I was wondering when something like this would happen. Combine this with the controversy at Wikipedia about how to handle the Church of Scientology entries and earlier accounts of corporate PR people massaging any user-editable content about their companies, and I think we will see a whole new level of deceptiveness develop in social network advertising, as PR and ad agencies try to work around the basic problem of telling the truth.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Message in Spanish, and Now I Can Read It





Facebook

to Peyton
show details 6:27 PM (2 hours ago)
Reply

Follow up message


View translated message
Spanish
>
English
Learn more
Edmundo Dantes sent a message to the members of FonoLibro - Audiolibros en Español.

--------------------
Subject: Joachim de Posada fue seleccionado entre los 25 mejores oradores profesionales

Estimadas Amigas y Amigos,

Nos da mucho gusto en informarles que Joachim de Posada autor de nuestros audiolibros “Sobrevivir entre Pirañas” y “No te comas el marshmallow…¡Todavía! Fue seleccionado entre los 25 mejores oradores profesionales por la revista de Julio y agosto de SPEAKER “The Art and Business Speaking” (Orador – El Arte y negocio de Hablar) publicación oficial de la Asociación Nacional de Oradores Profesionales (http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.nsaspeaker.org)

La portada de la revista lo dice todo “Who is Hot? 25 men & women who are shaping our profession” (¿Quién está Caliente? 25 hombres y mujeres quienes están dando forma a nuestra profesión). Esta asociación creó un comité donde evaluó a más de los mejores 100 oradores profesionales que habían sido pre-seleccionados bajo varios criterios y encuestas y obtuvieron a los 25 mejores oradores profesionales.

Estamos orgullosos de contar con Joachim como autor y lo felicitamos en FonoLibro por seguir cosechando éxitos. Sus audiolibros “Sobrevivir entre Pirañas” narrado completamente por Joachim, y “No te comas el marshmallow…¡Todavía!” el que cuenta una parábola al mejor estilo que ¿Quién se llevo mi queso? Están disponibles en nuestra página Web http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.fonolibro.com en versiones digitales para descarga en http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.audible.com/fonolibro

No dejen de escucharlos ya que Joachim en uno de ellos dice la fórmula para hacer millones de dólares en sus vidas.

Saludos,

Ed

That was the message that came in as an email. I use Gmail, and had recently turned on the Google Labs translation feature. I clicked the View Translated Message link, and this is what came up:

Edmundo Dantes sent a message to the members of Fonolibro - Books in Spanish.

--------------------
Subject: Joachim de Posada was selected among the top 25 professional speakers

Dear friends,

We're very pleased to announce that author Joachim de Posada of our audiobooks "Surviving between Piranhas" and "Do not eat the Marshmallow ... Yet! Was selected among the 25 best speakers by the professional magazine of July and August SPEAKER "The Art and Business Speaking" (Speaker - The Art and Business Talk) official publication of the National Association of Professional Speakers http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.nsaspeaker.org

The cover of the magazine says it all "Who is Hot? 25 men & women who are shaping our profession "(Who's Hot? 25 men and women who are shaping our profession). This association created a committee which evaluated over 100 of the best professional speakers who had been pre-selected under various criteria and surveys, and obtained the top 25 professional speakers.

We are proud to have Joachim as the author and congratulate him on Fonolibro for continuing success. His audiobooks "Surviving between Piranhas" narrated entirely by Joachim, and "Do not eat the Marshmallow ... Yet!" Which tells a parable to the best style Who took my cheese? Are available on our website http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.fonolibro.com in digital versions for download on http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.audible.com/fonolibro

Do not forget to listen and to Joachim on one of them said the formula to make millions of dollars in their lives.

Greetings,

Ed

Of course, I don't know how accurate the translation is, but it reads well. I'm impressed! This marks a major step toward machine translation, a technology that could go a long way toward reducing the conflict and increasing the harmony among different peoples in our world.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell reviews Free by Chris Anderson: newyorker.com

Malcolm Gladwell reviews Free by Chris Anderson: newyorker.com

Shared via AddThis

I haven't had a chance to read Anderson's new book, so I will just pass along Gladwell's review with a general statement that Gladwell's points seem accurate. Free can be a good price if a business is making money elsewhere, but most of the time Free is an illusion, as in free open source software. It's free because the people who create it donae their time or work for organizations that pay them to donate their time. I would be curious how an ecologist would react to Anderson, since if anyone knows that there's no free lunch, it's the people who study biological systems.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ohio Governor Proposes Halving State Support; Many Libraries Could Close - 6/22/2009 - Library Journal

Ohio Governor Proposes Halving State Support; Many Libraries Could Close - 6/22/2009 - Library Journal

Ohio has, in the past, provided excellent state support to its public libraries. Now, as we stumble into the information age, the state is considering halving its support of them. This would force many to close. If you know anyone who works for the State of Ohio, especially in the Governor's Office, please talk to them. This must not happen!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

6 Lessons One Campus Learned About E-Textbooks - Chronicle.com

6 Lessons One Campus Learned About E-Textbooks - Chronicle.com

This is a very interesting article by an administrator at a university that committed to using e-textbooks. The found out several interesting things that would not be surprising to someone deeply involved in e-publishing but could be surprising to most educators:

1. The reader really matters. E-readers can be much harder to use than conventional textbooks, except for reading straight text. Since textbooks usually include many charts, graphs and illustrations, this is a big issue. So is note-taking an annotating. It's easy to scribble notes in the margins of a printed book, but e-readers make this more difficult. The university did not try DAISY books, so this was a big issue for them.

2. Learning curves can be steep. If you work in IT, you can expect that, but if you don't then you probably think that you and your students will just pick up your e-book reader and figure it out as you go. Lots of luck.

3. Professors are as eager or even more eager than the students. This shouldn't surprise anyone.

4. Battery life issues. After essentially giving up on the Sony Reader, the university switched to a format that worked on laptops, but then the students began running out of juice. Practically speaking, battery life is always an issue (and anyone who travels on business should know this), buy buying and carrying a spare battery would be a new experience for most students.

5. Graphical matter affects some subjects more than others. Per number one above, it is much easier to read a literature e-book than a chemistry one because of the relative lack of illustrations.

6. Environmental impact. Obviously, e-books are easier on the environment. So this is a big plus.

Read the entire article for more details.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Science Daily: High Population Density Triggers Cultural Explosions

High Population Density Triggers Cultural Explosions

This goes totally against my favorite idea, which is that I (and some presently unknown cohort) are inherently superior -- perhaps because of a huge dose of alien genes) but Prof. Adam Powell makes more sense than my previous ideas did. Well worth 2.5 minutes of your attention to read.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Some Teachers in New York Area Offer to Share the Economic Pain - NYTimes.com

Some Teachers in New York Area Offer to Share the Economic Pain - NYTimes.com

Sad for teachers to have to give back, but a noble thing for them to do, especially when it allows school districts to keep more educators employed during the recession.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bowker Reports U.S. Book Production Declines 3% in 2008, but "On Demand" Publishing More Than Doubles | SYS-CON INDIA

Bowker Reports U.S. Book Production Declines 3% in 2008, but "On Demand" Publishing More Than Doubles | SYS-CON INDIA

The numbers don't lie. Combine this fact with the way large print is growing and it is clear that POD is having a huge impact not only by increasing accessible titles but by making it economically feasible to publish more books of every kind.

Monday, May 11, 2009

With E-Readers Comes Wider Piracy of Books - NYTimes.com

With E-Readers Comes Wider Piracy of Books - NYTimes.com

Most everyone in book publishing has seen this coming. It's the print equivalent of what happened years ago to the film and music industries, but with one major difference. Musicians and auteurs whose work is pirated are often already receiving massive monetary compensation for their creative work, which may be done in a relatively brief period of time; book authors, on the other hand, are often receiving marginal compensation for creative works that require years of their lives to complete.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Official Google Blog: Adding search power to public data

Official Google Blog: Adding search power to public data

Check this out if you need to compare one community with another or with US national figures. If you're like me and always trying to figure out the demographics behind changes in library land, this is probably going to be a fun toy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shortcovers - Popular Shortcovers and Mixes

Shortcovers - Popular Shortcovers and Mixes

Oops! I thought I was onto something hot here! I thought Shortcovers was going to let me read what I want to read on my Blackberry, and so I downloaded their app. But what they offer is the opportunity to read what I don't want to read. If you've read any of my blogs or ever met me, you know that the words stern, serious, complicated and difficult are apt. I'm not someone who knows how to have a good time or who has any serious (there I go again) interest in having a good time. I'm always looking for something not just challenging but nearly impossible, and that goes for my reading taste as well as for how I choose to live the rest of my life. If you have a problem, I will solve it. If you want to have a friend, I'm not your guy.

However, if you want to read Heaven is Small, Sex and the City, The Pelican Brief and other popular titles (don't forget the literary classic, Four Blondes) then this seems to be a lower cost alternative to Mobi. They say that some of their titles sell for as little as $0.99 but they didn't have anything I wanted to read so I'm not sure. In any case, the architecture of their web site is sound. All they need is more content. And they are relying on you to point them to it and to give them some ammunition when they go to the copyright holders with a permission slip in hand.

Anyway, most of my readers are librarians, and they're way lighter hearted than I will ever be, so I would say please check out this site. Aside from the dearth of seriously grumpy intellectual content, it's worth your visiting just because it's an alternative to Kindle, so you don't' have to buy and tote another chunk of hardware, and it's an alternative to Mobi, which seems committed to charging the same for a download as for a printed book.

I've no idea how accessible they are for readers with print disabilities. If anyone can evaluate this, please let me know. Meanwhile, I'll go back to reading my gloomy and serious printed books.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

MA Library Trustees' Pension Boost Sparks Backlash - 4/21/2009 - Library Journal

It's no wonder they never have enough money to buy materials, such as books... and library trustees and volunteer board members are supposed to be the good guys. Nobody pays me for volunteering. Maybe I don't understand the economics of oxymorons.

Monday, April 20, 2009

U.S. IMPACT Home

U.S. IMPACT Home

This is a web-based survey about public library computer use, i.e., about use of public access computers. The actual survey is at

https://www.uwsrd.org/mrIWeb/mrIWeb.dll?I.Project=IMLSPACVFINAL&i.User1=WA0063

Try it. Note that it does not seem to mention accessibility issues.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pubmatch - Matching Publishers, Authors and Agents Worldwide

Pubmatch - Matching Publishers, Authors and Agents Worldwide

Networking with publishers, authors and agents has just become a whole lot easier, thanks to a new web site provided by The Combined Book Exhibit. If you are in publishing, this is an excellent tool to locate potential business partners, suppliers, etc.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Microsoft's 2019 scenario has everything but Windows | The Industry Standard

Microsoft's 2019 scenario has everything but Windows | The Industry Standard

This is a 2-minute video montage that envisions the near future of technology. Everything is deeply networked and touch screen. As amazing as it appears, I will bet that by 2019 the technology showcased in this clip will seem quaint and dated.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society: The Struggle for Book Access (Blog Post #1)

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society: The Struggle for Book Access (Blog Post #1)

Vis-a-vis the new Kindle with text-to-speech capability, here is a good summary of the issues regarding author and publisher rights vs the needs of handicapped readers. I like Jim's concept of dueling moral high ground positions. It puts the whole issue into perspective for me.

A Brief History of Tactile Writing Systems for Readers With Blindness and Visual Impairments

A Brief History of Tactile Writing Systems for Readers With Blindness and Visual Impairments

Most people have heard of braille, but there are several other writing systems for blind people. This brief article gives an overview. Some of these systems are particularly useful if you work with young children, older persons who have recently lost their site, or with multiply handicapped persons who may not have the tactile sensitivity to benefit from braille.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Google & the Future of Books - The New York Review of Books

Google & the Future of Books - The New York Review of Books

Excellent article by Robert Darnton, head of libraries at Harvard, explaining the likely outcome of the Google Book Search settlement. Thanks for Jim Scheppke for pointing it out.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Talking Books Librarian: Amazon Kindle 2 for blind and visually impaired: Will Amazon Kindle 2 work for blind and visually impaired?

Talking Books Librarian: Amazon Kindle 2 for blind and visually impaired: Will Amazon Kindle 2 work for blind and visually impaired?

My opinion? Kindle 2's TTS is going to revolutionize the entire accessible technology business and culture. It's affordable. It's convenient. Using it won't make a disabled person stand out. Of course, it doesn't play BRF or DAISY files, and the books do cost money, but this is still the first time that a hugely popular ebook reader has included as part of its standard equipment an assistive technology piece.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Washington Post to End Book World As Stand-Alone Section - ArtsBeat Blog - NYTimes.com

Washington Post to End Book World As Stand-Alone Section - ArtsBeat Blog - NYTimes.com

Another decrease in the amount of print coverage that books get in print newspapers. This leaves only the NYT and the SF Chronicle with significant original reviews of books. The content of the Bookworld section will be split between two other sections of the print paper, but the equivalent number of pages of book reviews will be cut from 16 to 12. As with the recent announcement of the layoff of PW's editor and the consolidation of staff at Reed, I think this is more a symptom of the decline of print rather than a decline of interest in books.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fwd: New Child Safety Act - Update (long)

Here is some sane, factual information about the Child Safety issue. I don't think it is going to ban children from libraries, since it affects only books published after Feb 10 of this year. Also, the ALA and various publishing and printing groups are trying to get the Feds to see the problem before it explodes on them.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Terry Nathan at IBPA
Date: Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 5:09 PM
Subject: New Child Safety Act - Update (long)

Dear Peyton,

Information about the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act continues to roll in, and the outcome is anything but clear. One thing that does seem clear is that this Act applies only to books manufactured after February 10, 2009.

I encourage you to 1) contact your printer for input on this issue, and 2) contact your representatives in Washington, DC to voice your concerns. I am including a list of representatives below.

We have been reaching out to our colleagues in various key segments of the industry for information and are continuing to monitor this issue on a daily basis. We will keep you updated.

Below are some of the more useful bits of information we have been gathering. Note that the message from Joe Upton of Malloy is lengthy, but we felt the information contained therein from a printer's perspective was important to include.

Kind regards,

Terry Nathan
Executive Director
Independent Book Publishers Association (formerly PMA)

--

From Bookselling This Week: http://news.bookweb.org/6534.html

From PW Children's Bookshelf: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6629950.html?nid=2788

SPAN Website: http://www.spannet.org/cpsia-info-2009.htm

In addition to your own representatives, here is a list of others to contact:
1. Sen. Chuck Schumer, NY - -represents most publishers. 202-224-6542.......local 212-486-4430 (folks aren't having much luck with this one; best to try the DC one)
2. Sen. Diane Feinstein, who has been influential on the issue 202-224-3841
3. Sen. John Rockefeller, who will soon oversee the committee of jurisdiction, 202-224-6472
4. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who will also oversee committee of jurisdiction 202-224-3934
5. Cong. Henry Waxman, the new chair of the House Committee of jurisdiction 202-225-3976
6. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, 202-225-0100

--

With permission from Joe Upton of Malloy, Inc., dated 1/12/09

I can share what we have learned at Malloy about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). For those of you who don't know Malloy, we are a book printer in Ann Arbor, MI.

Unfortunately, the CPSIA is a concern to the entire book industry. Printers need to verify that the books they produce are compliant with the new law; publishers and booksellers, along with printers, face significant legal consequences and supply interruptions if products do not comply with the law. In addition, if the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) insists that every print-run (e.g., 1000 copies of a simple 64 page, saddle-stitched, one-color children's workbook) has to be tested and have a Certification of Conformity (COC), the cost of manufacturing books will increase by the cost of those tests, which run in the hundreds of dollars, and print schedules will be extended by the time it takes to perform the tests.

Malloy has been tracking this issue for several weeks. Unfortunately, the CPSC is still not able to answer many key questions. I'm hesitant to make definitive statements on the CPSIA, because we're getting a lot of conflicting information. However, here is some of what we know at this point:

The Book Manufacturers' Institute (BMI), AAP, and Printing Industries of America (PIA) are working in concert to present the concerns of the book industry to the CPSC. I've attached a letter sent by AAP to CPSC on Dec. 4, asking for books to be exempt from the new law (as they were under the old regulations) and seeking clarification on how the law will be applied if books are not exempted. The response from the CPSC on Dec. 23 is attached as well. The response from the CPSC on what constitutes an "ordinary book" and a statement that the law does not apply to "ordinary books" are reassuring.

Information being collected by BMI, AAP, and PIA can be found at the following web site hosted by RR Donnelley: http://www.rrd.com/cpsia. This is a good resource to learn more about the CPSIA and the ongoing effort to understand how the regulations will impact the book industry. Please note that the test results posted on this web site show that the levels of lead and phthalates in books are well within the bounds of the law.

Regarding the importance of the Feb 10 deadline, here is the link to an article in Booksellers This Week: http://news.bookweb.org/6515.html An encouraging point in the article is made by Julie Vallese, director of information and public affairs for the CPSC: "The Certificate of Conformity (COC) is necessary for those [children's] products [for children up to age 12] manufactured after February 10."

Vallese stressed that COCs will have to accompany children's books that are manufactured on or after February 10, but not books that were manufactured before that date -- even if the bookseller is ordering them after February 10. But, booksellers must have a "level of confidence" that the children's products they are selling comply with the law.

At the very end of the article, there is a quote from Allan Adler of AAP that pretty well sums up the current situation: "At the very least, publishers need clarification on various aspects of the law from the CPSC. 'We're trying to make it clear to the people on the Hill that, if books are an issue, they have to be explicit on how the law applies to books. How do you test books? What parts? At what point in the assembly process? We need a straightforward statement to the book publishing industry about what testing is required of books.'"

Consistent with the comment from Mr. Adler, we (Malloy) have found two labs capable of doing the testing for us right now, but they are scrambling to have the correct certification. They are CPSC accredited, but in addition to that accreditation, they need certification for the specific tests involved. Since the CPSC hasn't definitively set the tests, that is hard to achieve. One of the tests the government recommended is actually obsolete and no longer accepted by the analytical community.

Malloy's suppliers of ink, paper, film lamination, and adhesives have certified that the materials they supply to us are well within the requirements laid out by the CPSIA. It is important to note that this assurance, though encouraging, does not allow us to provide a COC that complies with the law. As stated in the CPSC's 12/23 response to the AAP letter, testing of components does not meet the requirements of the law. It is the end product that must be tested, and we can not conduct certified end product tests until CPSC specifies the testing procedure. However, the assurances we have received from our suppliers, like the test results posted on the RR Donnelley website, can give publishers and retailers the required "level of confidence" to be able to sell books currently in inventory and those produced prior to February 10th.

Our hope is that the industry will prevail on the CPSC to exempt printed books from the requirements of this legislation, as was the case for books under the prior CPSC regulations. Like all parents, we are passionately concerned for the safety of our children; however, there is no record of a child in the U.S. ever having been poisoned by a paper-based book. The test results posted on the RR Donnelley website demonstrate that this safety record isn't simply the result of good luck - books are a safe product for children. The current effect of the law is to keep children from obtaining books. When applying this law to paper-based books provides zero additional safety to our children, how can such an effect be in the public interest?

In the event that the industry is not able to have books reinstated as an exempt product under the CPSIA, our hope is that Congress and the CPSC will allow us to use data from the components that go into books to certify their safety. Such a process would be similar to that which is used to ensure chemical safety in the workplace. Documents similar to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) could accompany shipments of the components we use and enable us to certify the safety of the end product. (This would be more than sufficient. Book manufacturing is not alchemy. There is nothing in the process of combining the components of a book that creates lead or phthalates.) Developing an MSDS-like process will require additional time, so we also hope that Congress and the CPSC will postpone the current February 10th deadline to make it possible to develop a workable process.

We'll keep the group tied into this email informed of developments on this matter. We'll also begin very shortly to post relevant decisions on our web site.

Regards,

Joe Upton

Joe Upton
Vice President Sales and Marketing
Malloy Incorporated
734 995-8524

Update from 1/14/09:

On January 9, 2009 Pat Schroeder and Allan Adler from AAP were able to meet again with G.C. Falvey of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Falvey agreed to issue a follow-up letter clarifying her original opinion letter. She will clarify that, with respect to the February 10 deadline for total lead content certification, we are not dealing with accredited third-party testing under Section 102(a)(2) - which has not yet gone into affect due to lack of accreditation standards - but only with general conformity certification (GCC) under Section 102(a)(1). Section 102(a)(1) allows GCC to be based on either the kind of tests that we submitted with the industry's original request for exemption from the CPSC (and are posted on http://www.rrd.com/cpsia) or on results obtained through a "reasonable testing program" that she will further explain is whatever testing program the manufacturer believes is reasonable based on their knowledge of the product and its components. She will indicate that book manufacturers can confidently issue GCCs based on the kind of test results posted on the website and can even use soluble lead testing results as supportive evidence.

Although efforts continue to gain a full exemption for "ordinary books", this will certainly not happen prior to the February 10 deadline. Each book manufacturer must issue a GCC for each book title they produce beginning 2/10/09. In most cases, the GCC would certify that the book title adheres to the "CPSIA 2008 - Lead in Substrate of Children's Products" regulation. If the book has "some inherent play value and constitutes a toy or has toy like features," the book may also have to be certified for the "CPSIA 2008 - Phthalates in Children's Products" requirement as well.

The GCC certificate must "accompany" each shipment of a book title. To meet the "accompanying" requirement, the certificate can be in a hardcopy paper format or available on the WWW in an electronic format. Malloy will link the GCC to the job through our Online Status Report.

The CPSIA provides that a book title can be certified through a "reasonable testing program." Each printer must come up with their own "reasonable testing program." We have established such a program at Malloy and will be prepared to issue a GCC (a form that was developed by a group of BMI members and likely to be used by most book printers) with each job we run on or before 2/10/09.

So, it appears that the industry now has a relatively inexpensive way to comply with the regulation that goes into effect on February 10. It remains to be seen whether our good fortune holds for the next deadline in August.

Assistive Technology For Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: - American Foundation for the Blind

The catalog copy describing the book is so clear that I am just going to quote it. This is definitely a book worth buying if you work with disabled students, and it would probably be very helpful if you work with disabled adults.

Here's the catalog copy:

Assistive technology is essential in today's world to enable people who are blind or visually impaired to participate fully in school, work, and life. But how can you keep track of all the devices and software and each one's function? And what assistive technology tools are right for your students? If you’ve asked yourself these questions or others like them, this comprehensive handbook is the resource you need. You'll find a wealth of technical information translated into clear, user-friendly terms in Assistive Technology For Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment, including:

• An overview of the full range of assistive technology that students can use to manage information in print or electronic formats—whether they use vision, touch or hearing to access information
• How to select appropriate tools and strategies
• A structured process for conducting a technology assessment
• A detailed assessment form that can be used to determine students’ technology needs and solutions to address them
• Advice on writing up program recommendations based on assessment results

You’ll also find:
• Tips and insights on working with technology effectively
• A summary of laws and regulations relating to assistive technology
• A resource section of assistive technology producers
• Readings about technology instruction
• Reproducible, blank assessment forms

Essential for teachers of students with visual impairments, members of the IEP team, administrators, technology professionals, and anyone who needs to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Network of Spiritual Progressives - Text of Gaza Peace Ad

Network of Spiritual Progressives - Text of Gaza Peace Ad

This is not about technology but it does have a lot to do with publishing, education and making the world better. Please join me in supporting this group and their message.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bright Ideas - Environment - Can You Hear My Prius Now? - NYTimes.com

Bright Ideas - Environment - Can You Hear My Prius Now? - NYTimes.com

The relative quiet of the Prius and other electic vehicles seems wonderful until you think about how this quiet makes them invisible to those who see with their ears. My eyes are fine, but I, too, have to admit to being taken by surprise several times by electrics when I have been walking by the road. Here's a clever technological solution to this problem, in development by two college students.