Archived entries for libraries

Calibre QuickStart for Kindle

As a followup to last week’s post about the METRO SIG – now it’s even easier to use Calibre to get e-books of any format onto a Kindle. Adding Books to the Kindle With Calibre is a simple and clear guide to using Calibre with a Kindle. No Amazon conversion fees, and all you need is the USB cable and the program. Recommended. Via the always excellent TeleRead.

Further IA e-book news

I attended a meeting of the newly reformed METRO Smartphone & Mobile Computing SIG this week, and at one point I mentioned that Biodiversity Heritage Library books were available in ePub format through the Internet Archive. Someone answered that ePub couldn’t be read on the Kindle. When I answered that they could if converted using Calibre, they said that conversion was too complicated a process for the average library patron. A point which I’m not sure I’m ready to concede. In any case, it’s a moot point, as IA just began offering Mobipocket format as well, the basis for the Kindle’s native format. I’ll post what I find out when I get the Apples of New York in .mobi from the site.

Update: I’ve downloaded Apples of New York, and it appears to be identical to the ePub version, save the introductory cover images. The OCR is broken in exactly the same places.

First BHL e-book experiments

Last week the Internet Archive announced that all their online books were now available in ePub format as well, which meant that the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) books were too. Nice when you get stuff like that for free. Anyway, I went and downloaded one of MPOW’s contributions, a particular favorite of mine, The Apples of New York. Since all of IA’s ebooks are in the open ePub format, they couldn’t be read on my Kindle without first converting it to .azw format – I used Lexcycle’s Stanza for this, but you could as easily use calibre, an open source app which has a multitude of great features. I loaded it on my Kindle, opened a copy of the ePub in the Stanza app on my iPhone, and tried reading it in the Stanza desktop app on a Mac.

Screenshots below:

Stanza desktop:

mac stanza book.jpg

Stanza iPhone:




The books have some problems – there are OCR issues, but for the most part they’re remarkably readable. This is a great development, and makes the BHL material even more accessible, an important part of the consortium’s mission.

Reading Our Own Dogfood

In Tough Economic Times, New Jersey Libraries Are Flourishing –

Jude Schanzer, the director of programming at the East Meadow Public Library, on Long Island, tells the story of a middle-class woman in her 50s who dropped in late last year after work and applied for a library card. She confided to a librarian that it was the first library card she had possessed since childhood.

“Now I don’t have to buy my books,” she told Ms. Schanzer. “This is how I’m cutting back.””

We read a lot of contemporary fiction in our house, my wife and son in particular – and when the economy first started going south, we started using the Westchester consortium. We had been a buying a lot of books that were read once and then never touched again. Now if only the catalog wasn’t so damn AWFUL.

Gasping towards 1.0

guilds in a time of rapid change:

We are in an era of transformative change.  We are 15 years into the web, a decade into the Google Search Era, and only 4 years into Web 2.0

If you’re working on a traditional 5-year planning cycle, that means you’re only three plans since the information environment transformed completely, and your last plan may have been fixed in print before Web 2.0 even existed.  These are challenging times.

Tell me about it.

(Via Science Library Pad.)

No poetry on ESPN

Ron Silliman: Of the 19 authors whose books I read in judging the Poetry…:

Reading Wenderoth’s web page at UC Davis, I get the sense that he may be more interested in poetry that is performable – in the Henry Rollins sense – than in the printed page, which may explain this puzzle. A poem like ’Twentieth-Century Pleasures’ just might work very well at a reading to an
audience inexperienced in contemporary poetry – those short pieces would likewise – but it does so for all the reasons that make poetry as performance an inherently debased art. The exact same qualities that would make you cringe at an episode of Matlock work very well at pulling forward stock emotions from audiences who aren’t trained to recognize such manipulations. There’s a reason why so many poets who participate in slams are notoriously unread. This might not be slam material, but the dynamics are fundamentally the same.

Which caught my eye, because just yesterday I found myself reading (also via Silliman’s blog) this:

White Plains, NY – In case you haven’t heard, stars are coming to White Plains – the stars of Slam Poetry.

They have been featured at the White Plains Public Library the first Wednesday of each month since 2004 thanks to Eric “Zork” Alan, author and four-time National Slam Poet competitor; Program Librarian Barbara Wenglin, along with other library staff, and the White Plains Library Foundation.

Spoken word or performance poetry is now one of the most popular and growing forms of poetry throughout the United States and worldwide. The Library’s monthly slam poetry events offer an opportunity for poets in Westchester County to perform their original works at an Open Mic or Slam competition during the evening, as well as take inspiration from world-class guests and other local poets. The talented slammaster and performance poet, Eric “Zork” Alan, emcees each program. The visiting poets are exciting professionals from around the country who have been attracting a large and diverse audience. In fact, the program has made such an impact on teens that the White Plains Library Foundation is launching an additional slam poetry program just for them.

Following a year of competitions, the 2008 Westchester Poetry Slam winning team members are James Joseph Buhs, Dan DeRosa, Sean Gallagher, Anne Marie Marra, and Slammaster Eric “Zork” Alan. The team competed at the National Poetry Slam Championship in August in Madison, WI, and received great positive feedback. In 2007, the first-ever Westchester Poetry Slam team entered the National Poetry Slam Championship in Austin, Texas.

Why can’t I read this without thinking about Dodgeball championships on the Ocho? Why isn’t poetry an Olympic event?

(Via Silliman’s Blog.)

Technorati Tags:
, ,

Free as in “you can get it in black”

Free Microsoft tools for scholarly communication:

  • This is for real. Don’t mistake the Microsoft research division, which doesn’t sell anything, for the Microsoft product divisions. Tony Hey believes in open access and open data, and is putting Microsoft resources behind them. For background, see Richard Poynder’s interview with Tony Hey (December 2006), and my previous post on the Microsoft repository platform (March 2008).
  • The new tools are free of charge. The announcement doesn’t say they will ever be open source, but Microsoft encourages open-source tools in the open chemistry projects it funds. So it’s possible.

Not cross-platform, though. I can’t take any Microsoft division seriously on open anything until they make tools like this simultaneously available on Macintosh and other platforms. Till then, it’s all just marketing bullshit. Apple’s not perfect in this wise, either; but open from Microsoft usually means “loss leader.”

(Via Open Access News.)

Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,

Hive No-Mind

Kevin Kelly — The Technium: “As Clay Shirky puts it: here comes everybody! “

Yeah, he’s something, that James JoyceClay Shirky.

(Via no via.)

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Still no E-Z book ripper

Levy: Rip This Book? Not Yet. | Newsweek Voices – Steven Levy |

“Then I tested a BookSnap for myself. Short verdict: not a revolution. More a thud than a snap, the device—an ominous three-foot high construction draped with a thick black darkroom-style shade—looks like a Goth puppet theater and weighs 44 pounds. Under the shade is an angled cradle for a book and a glass platen to hold the pages down during scanning. You turn the pages yourself. It costs $1,600, not including the two Canon digital cameras (about $500 each) necessary to capture the page images and send them to your computer, where software transforms the pictures into files that can be read on a screen or an e-book reader. It takes considerable fiddling to get images set up properly. Supposedly, once you get started you can digitize 500 pages per hour, much faster and at higher quality than with flatbed scanners (which are much cheaper but not optimized for book scanning). I never got that far, but I imagine such a feat would require considerable caffeination.”

It’s almost impossible to sell self-digitization to the iPod generation, because – as Levy points out here – it’s so much more labor-intensive than ripping a CD. Even ripping vinyl albums to MP3 is much easier and can also be started and then run mostly unattended. Scanning a book is a tedious process and you can’t really do anything else (well, maybe rip CDs) while you’re doing it. Atiz is commendably trying to get to an appliance model for book scanners, but the BookSnap isn’t it. You’d really need something along the lines of the Kirtas technology for that.

(Via Digitization 101.)

Technorati Tags:
, ,

NYPL’s new MyLibraryDV and Macs

Reading the NYPL monthly newsletter this morning, I saw what looked like a great new service: MyLibraryDV. From the newsletter:

Download classic films, Hollywood hits, lifestyle programs, and more — for free! All you need is your NYPL library card, high-speed Internet access, and MyLibraryDV to access more than 1,000 movies and TV series, including favorites like Antiques Roadshow and America’s Test Kitchen.

Well, that, and a Windows machine, or an Intel-equipped Mac with BootCamp, Parallels, or VMWare Fusion:

Can I use a Mac with the service?

The Download Manager for MyLibraryDV is a Windows .exe file that can only be installed on computers running Windows 2000 with SP4 or Windows XP with SP2, which enables you to run Windows Media Player. You can use a Mac to operate the Download Manager and view videos if you have an Intel processor and Windows 2000 with SP4 or Windows XP with SP2 operating system installed and running. Macs without this capability will not be able to install and use the Download Manager.

So the answer here is “not really,” though of course you can make the case that a Mac running Windows does it better and more stably than a PC. (Ask me sometime about the epic struggle it was to burn 3 Word docs to a CD on a Windows laptop yesterday. Why people put up with this stuff is beyond my comprehension. Well, besides “they have to.”) But anybody with a G* is out of luck. NYPL, you’re better than this. Really.

Technorati Tags:
, ,

Copyright © 2004–2009. All rights reserved.

RSS Feed. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez.