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ATG: If Rumors were Horses

by | Feb 23, 2019 | 0 comments

By Katina Strauch, Editor, Against the Grain


Happy New Year, everyone! We spent the vacation in Winston-Salem at the Graylyn Estate figuring that it would be best to stay out of my daughter and her husband’s hair since they now have three children and one was only just born on November 3, 2018. Graylyn Estate is a very inexpensive and friendly historic hotel owned and operated by Wake Forest University. Highly recommended!

Two enterprising librarians, Christian Lauersen and Marie Engberg Eiriksson launched Library Planet, “a crowdsourced Lonely Planet for libraries,” in early December. The two librarians from Denmark both love to visit libraries when they travel and had talked about how they could share their experience with other people. They also shared a frustration: travel books often only include libraries if they are flagship or historical libraries, Engberg Eiriksson wrote in an email. See A “Lonely Planet” for Libraries by Kara Yorio and thanks to Ramune Kubilius for the suggestion!

Another experience at Graylyn — I was heartened to see that the library was central to the hotel. There was a library at the entrance, a small room with information and historical information about the venue and of course several books. Tour guides pointed it out to visitors and guests. Interesting that they are devoting crucial space to a library! Corey Seeman’s Squirreling business columnin this issue (p.70) talks about Sears and his desire that libraries are not on the same path that Sears took. I share the same concern. What about libraries is important? Is it library as place? As a resource? A service? We can get resources and services anywhere, but not the pensive solitary environment that is the library’s trademark.

During vacation, also had a chance to spend some time reading a riveting book by Jason Fagone. The Woman Who Smashed Codes chronicles the life of a truly extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. Elizebeth Smith (her first name was spelled differently to make it stand out since Smith was such a common name) was one of the first if not the first code-breaker in American history. “Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of her life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence.” What a book!

What a woman! Erin Gallagher has accepted a new position as Head of E-Resources at University of Florida libraries. Her final day at Reed College was December 7th.  Erin has an email account set up at UF, please use this address to contact her:  <gallaghere@ufl.edu>

Do you all read ATG Quirkies? They are selected by John Riley and posted by Tom Gilson. The Quirky on November 28 was from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner — An intoxicated book lover broke the glass in one of the Noel Wien Library’s front doors to gain access after hours Tuesday night. According to library director Melissa Harter, the man “really wanted to read and didn’t realize the library was closed.” People do love libraries! What a man!

Connected with Rick Anderson before the holiday! He is back from the UAE. Rick and his family drove to Wyoming for a Christmas visit with the in-laws. With them were two of their kids: Rick’s son is currently at the Air Force Academy and their daughter Maggie and her husband were with them. Rick’s other son is currently serving in Oklahoma as a missionary. Since Rick wasn’t at the Charleston Conference, I shared a couple of potential debate topics that came up in November: a) Who owns usage data? and b) Do we still need collection development? Send us your ideas and let us know if you have another topic to suggest! Debate coming up!

Was on a conference call today and learned that the incredibly helpful Melanie Dolechek has horses just like the incredible Leah Hinds. The tidbits you don’t pick up over the telephone!

The alert Nancy Herther sends news of this interesting collaboration: “Google’s computer brains are helping The New York Times turn a historic archive of more than 5 million photos into digital data that’ll appear in the newspaper’s features about history. The newspaper’s ‘morgue’ has 5 million to 7 million photos dating back to the 1870s, including prints and contact sheets showing all the shots on photographers’ rolls of film. The Times is using Google’s technology to convert it into something more useful than its current analog state occupying banks of filing cabinets.” More is available at: Google AI helps NYT get a handle on 5 million photo archive 

Like wow! Corey Seaman says he has started up a number of series of blog posts on the Golden Age of Radio — or old time radio. He has focused on Christmas, Thanksgiving, diet, baseball, African-Americans, world travel and lighthouses. He is starting a new series that he has been planning for some time. As a librarian (13+ years at the University of Michigan), he has long wanted to match his love of old time radio with his profession. So he is starting up the new series — Librarians on Old Time Radio. Corey is going to feature programs that have librarians and related information professionals in key roles in the story. These might be fairly straight forward — or only tangentially related to librarianship. Maybe there is a minor part of a librarian in the story. Anyway, Corey should have a good number of episodes to feature over the upcoming months. (He hopes to feature one entry a week.) Let’s enjoy them!

Some great news from Jill Heinze who you will remember wrote the Charleston BriefingLibrary Marketing: From Passion to Practice. Jill was invited to conduct a workshop on marketing for the Lamar Soutter Library. One of the attendees at Jill’s Charleston Briefings presentation found the session so helpful that she invited Jill to her institution! Like awesome! I’m sure Jill will share some reflections about this workshop in an upcoming ATG article since she is a new column editor!

Speaking of the Briefings (see p.71 this issue), did you attend the session during the Conference on “Short Books: Why They are Published, the Obstacles they Face, and their Prospects for Success” by Matthew Ismail (Central Michigan University and Steven Weiland (Michigan State University). Short books have languished but we now have several examples from Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, MIT Press, the Charleston Conference Briefings, Morgan & Claypool, etc. The audio from the Short books session should be coming up soon on our YouTube channel. And watch for a Briefing on this topic!

Hot off the press! John Dove’s mother used to work for Encyclopedia Britannica. Last Sunday night, John’s sister called him from Chicago and told him to turn on the television since their mother was on the CBS Sunday Morning Show. The episode was about the history of the Encyclopedia Britannica and its 250th anniversary. The link to the tape is below. This is definitely worth looking at. John’s mom is fourth from the right at 03:02 – 03:08. His mom was an “answer girl.” Just for the record, John says he never heard his mother refer to the team she was on as “The Answer Girls.” “My mother was a feminist, even refusing to accept an engagement ring or wedding ring; she said to my father that she was not going to wear any symbol of a ‘kept woman.’ She was disappointed when I dropped out of college and joined a start-up on Wall Street back in 1968. She did live long enough to see me working with libraries beginning with Silverplatter and then Credo. I think she’d feel I did okay in the end.” What a story! Be sure and go to this link of the history of Britannica. Britannica’s executive editor Ted Pappas says “Britannica did something unique; it combined long, scholarly essays with short definitional entries and practical information.” Founded in 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britannica was the brainchild of Colin Macfarquhar, a printer, and Andrew Bell, an engraver.

Another anniversary! Founded in 1869, Nature was launched with a mission to “place before the general public the grand results of Scientific Work and Scientific Discovery” and to aid scientists by “giving early information of all advances made in any branch of Natural knowledge throughout the world.” Today, the journal continues to provide its readers with original research along with news and commentary on science and society, in print and online at nature.com. November 2019 will mark 150 years since the official launch of the weekly issue. Activities are planned throughout 2019 to celebrate the history and legacy of research published in Nature, as well as looking ahead to the future of research.

Did I tell you that I ran into William and Janice Welburn in downtown Charleston after the Conference was over? Both work with university administrations tirelessly to help the education at all levels! What a power couple! Janice is Dean of Libraries at Marquette and a frequent conference attendee. William is Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion in the Milwaukee area!   See you next year! Maybe on the program?

Speaking of power — Originally founded in 1985 Information Power is now expanding to best serve its funder, information vendor, library, publisher, society, and university clients. From January 2019 two new leaders step forward to drive the consultancy business forward: Lorraine Estelle and Alicia Wise. Together the Information Power team has a strategic overview of the rapidly changing information landscape, and the important trends and opportunities this change brings, coupled with decades of combined management experience. It’s hard to keep up with the energetic and spry Helen Henderson, Founder, and the even more energetic Hazel Woodward. “Lorraine and Alicia are well-known in the content and information services space. They are both accomplished and collaborative professionals, and great communicators able to work effectively across the full spectrum of stakeholders. Their leadership of Information Power will position them to offer thoughtful strategic advice on some of the thorniest challenges of our times, for example the transition to Open Access.” (You can email them at: info@informationpower.co.uk)

Do you know about substack.com? This platform makes it simple for a writer to start an email newsletter. Kent Anderson has started a newsletter on this platform. I am a subscriber and it’s certainly inexpensive and easy to use not to mention full of hot topics to discuss. Highly recommended!

Speaking of the Conference, we want your input please. Do you think there are enough places to sit and talk in the Gaillard during the Conference? People are big fans of the Francis Marion lobby for example. We are hoping to have more opportunities for discussion at the Gaillard. Thoughts?

There will be a “sudden deluge of available works” now that copyright extension protection has run out. Until now, the publishing house that still bears Knopf’s name has held the North American copyright, but that will change on Jan. 1, when “The Prophet” enters the public domain, along with works by thousands of other artists and writers, including Marcel Proust, Willa Cather, D. H. Lawrence, Agatha Christie, Joseph Conrad, Edith Wharton, P. G. Wodehouse, Rudyard Kipling, Katherine Mansfield, Robert Frost and Wallace Stevens. This coming year marks the first time in two decades that a large body of copyrighted works will lose their protected status — a shift that will have profound consequences for publishers and literary estates, which stand to lose both money and creative control.

And this from a Guest Post by Arnetta Girardeau, Duke University Libraries, Copyright & Information Policy Consultant; And in 2020, works first published in 1924 will enter the public domain, and so on and so on! It’s exciting stuff. What does that mean to us as creators, makers, teachers, or writers? It means that we suddenly have access to more materials to rework, reuse, and remix! Works such as Charlie Chaplain’s The Pilgrim, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Links, and “The Charleston.” Throughout the year and across the country, festivities are planned — including a live streamed panel at the U.S. Copyright Office on January 16, and a incredible lineup of speakers and talks at a live event, “A Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain,” co-hosted by Creative Commons and the Internet Archive in San Francisco on January 25.

Hope you enjoy this issue, which highlights sessions from the 2018 Charleston Conference. If you’d like to suggest a conference theme for 2019 send it to the ATG editors or any of the Conference Directors! www.charlestonlibraryconference.com


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