Sunday, October 28, 2007

4 Great Reads at Epinions

You can find a lot of good writers over at, a product review site. Epinions has gone through a number of makeovers but has managed to hold on to a number of really terrific people who can open your eyes to other viewpoints.

I hope to write about several of them who write produce book reviews, among other things, as this site develops, but meantime, here are four of my favorites.

Stephen Murray , who writes about gay issues and other "other" experiences, those who have been shut out of or discriminated against in society.

Hadassahchana writes with great sensitivity on a number of topics. She's had some tough moments in her life but always comes back and treats others with respect and compassion.

Eplovejoy is another kind and decent person who knows his stuff, whether he's writing about books or movies. He drops off the site for a while, as do others, and then pops up again, to general rejoicing.

Amerpie is listed as no longer active but his stuff is still up and he has a lot of important things to say, particularly about the war. Read him and you may weep.

Digitalizing Delayed

European libraries face problems in digitalizing

By Doreen Carvajal

In the early stages of its planning, the European Digital Library held the promise of a counterstrike to Google domination of digital archives through the search engine's vast book search project and powerful alliances with American universities.

But as the European project prepares for its debut early next year, the 80 museums, film institutes and national libraries involved are facing the reality of limited government funding for the enormous task of digitizing material, and they are now developing a new realism about striking a variety of alliances with private companies, including national deals with Google.

"The basic problem is that there isn't enough money to digitize everything we want to," said Stephen Bury, head of European and American collections at the British national library, which is digitizing 100,000 out-of-print books from the 19th century with its partner, Microsoft.

"We're aware that there are some downsides to it because the commercial companies are obviously in it either for shareholder profit or doing it to get a public feel-good factor. We're aware and we're not going to be caught out."

The European Commission has contributed about €60 million, or $85 million, to develop a digital library system that can be shared by a wide number of national libraries and cultural institutions. But it is not financing basic digitization, which the commission estimated would cost €250 million over four years. Some major libraries are still pressing for more public financing, but European officials are clearly encouraging private alliances.

I Wonder Where They'll Go?

And how many books are going to be lost. And what some of the titles that "haven't been used in years" are.

Volunteers are breaking some rules that are usually standard at the District of Columbia's central library - they're tearing up books. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library is getting a makeover of sorts. At least 250 volunteers spent part of the weekend pulling about 8,000 books off the shelves, ripping out bar-coded pages and stamping them "withdrawn."

Librarians are taking out old, dirty copies of books
that haven't been used in years to make room for new materials, DVDs and CDs. Associate Director Pamela Stovall says they weeded through about 10 percent of the collection. Old books will be donated or sold.

Read 50 Books--But Hurry!

Sticking With Books

Books remain ideal learning tool for technology

By Monica Hesse
Que Publishing held an online party in Second Life recently to fete the release of "Second Life: A Guide to Your Virtual World" -- 416 pages on navigating that user-generated community in which residents buy virtual property, go to virtual work, deal with virtual family members and do all of the other things that, in real life, make us grind our teeth.

Brian White's guide joined "Second Life: The Official Guide" and half a dozen other instructionals explaining how to maximize your "in-world" experience. By year's end, nearly 20 will be on the market, including the tender buddy flick of the SL community: "Alter Ego: Avatars and Their Creators."

Note: These are all books.

We are all flying thumbs and keystrokes and voice activation and touch-pad shortcuts. We are swimming in technologies and applications, but when it comes to understanding how to really use these shiny new inventions, we rely on a stubborn piece of dead tree, a centuries-old technology.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Books on eBay

Vonnegut and Faux News

Wow, I missed the trashing of Kurt Vonnegut by Faux News.

Mean AND Wrong

Booklist looks at the issue of inaccuracy and negativity in book reviews. Very entertaining.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Reading Room

They must have known this blog was about to arrive! Launches 'Reading Room'

By E&P Staff
NEW YORK--Bibliophiles have yet another outlet to indulge in their passion as ­ announced the launch of Reading Room: Conversations About Great Books.

The site is a new, online forum of expert panelists in discussion with editors from The New York Times Book Review about classic books.

Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the Book Review, will interview Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators of a newly published edition of Leo Tolstoy's 'War and Peace,' the first Reading Room selection. The interview is featured in the Book Review¹s weekly podcast on Oct. 26 ­ launching a four-week discussion of the book.

Thursday, October 25, 2007