Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I am conducting research for my book Effective Blogging for Libraries (working title), from Neal-Schuman as part of its forthcoming Tech Set series created by Ellyssa Kroski. The book is almost complete, but I need your help! I am looking to find out what has and has not worked with library blog(s).
Anyone got time, it only takes a couple of minutes to complete.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Brindley described the British library as 'one of the greatest libraries in the world'. She discussed how the BL supports research and makes around £22 to 25 million from the work it does for business, which is then re-invested in the library. The BL website also receives 75000000 hits per year we were told.
- Restoring and sustaining cultures.
- Virtual reunification's of collections.
- Capacity building.
- Professional leadership.
- Digital development.
She then discussed some of the important work the British library is doing. For example, the International Dunhuang project. This looks at the ancient silk road maps in Asia.
The she discussed the Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important books in the world. Handwritten well over 1600 years ago, the manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. This garnered 96000000 hits in its first two days. Other things were discussed such as Web Curator briefly, but it then proceeded to a Q & A. Oh what fun.
Question 1 was 'why is the BL so badly staffed, with rude staff'. Great opening question. Brindley responded that she would look into it and felt that they provided a service fairly well.
Question 2 was whether the BL might get less money from the Government in the economic downturn. She felt that it could be likely in the present economic climate.
Question 3 was the worst and made my blood boil. Some French researcher/academic who'd used the BL for 40 years felt people from Kings Cross and Euston used the BL as a waiting room, charging there phones up off free electricity of the BL. Excuse me, even if they do they paid for the BL via THERE TAXES. At least they were entering the library and using it. It was if mere plebs are not allowed to use it. Sorry dear, but we are not in the nineteenth century anymore. Brindley smiled, and said the library was open to the public (or as the academic would say, 'the great unwashed' in her mind).
Question 4 was whether the BL would join with google to digitalise the collection. She said no, as they had not 'been mindful of copyright....[but] the ambition is amazing.'
There were some more questions, but I must conclude. My conclusion is that Brindley came over as a great speaker and leader of are national heritage, with foresight and ambition (for culture and not personal) and it was really an interesting evening.
The programme is around an hour and half long, showing there declining relationship, there building new companies and empires, and in the British computing industry getting the most important contract of the early 1980's. This was the BBC computer literacy project. This was designed with an emphasis on education it was notable for its ruggedness, expandability and the quality of its operating system. Acorn won this competition in 1981 and with it, the computer was used on The Computer Programme.
In the next few years we see how fruitful the 2 companies become. Acorn, the programmers toy of choice, whilst the Spectrum is the gamers choice. But both are dissatisfied with there lot, as they want a share of each others market. When the fade of 1984 comes in, as computer aficionado's we know the computing world would never be the same.
Both colleagues take wrong turns, Curry with the doomed electron and Sir Clive's QL. When they finally meet for a drink Curry says 'If we joined together we could have taken on IBM.' Back then, as a teenager it felt like it could have happened.
I do feel this area is rarely covered by social and computer historians. In the 1980's we had great games like Manic Miner & Jet Set Willy by Matthew Smith, who made a fortune and disappeared to commune in Holland. Gaming companies like Imagine Software, who climbed great heights and went belly up before our eyes in a BBC documentary. Very few books have been written on this era excluding one on the Spectrum and a Chapter on the Game Elite (originally made for the BBC and then transported to the Spectrum). Its a shame really.
In all it is a melancholy trip down memory lane, of when we were young, were full of dreams and could take on the world. How middle age makes fools of us all.
Monday, October 12, 2009
The Guardian says:-
In her weekly video podcast, before the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, Merkel appealed for more international co-operation on copyright protection and said her government opposed Google's drive to create online libraries full of scanned books.
"The German government has a clear position: copyrights have to be protected on the Internet," Merkel said, adding that there were "considerable dangers" for copyright protection online.
"The British Library: a library for the world"Outlining the many ways in which the British Library collaborates internationally, including cultural diplomacy projects and the use of new technologies to share texts of international significance with a world-wide audience.
And a wine reception after. Not bad ;)
Friday, October 09, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Siva Vaidhyanathan, a critic of Google says 'This was the first issue through which Google’s power became clearly articulated to the public.....All sorts of people — writers, researchers, librarians, academics and readers — really feel they have a stake in the world of books'.
It seems that, at long last people are noting, that in signing over our culture to Google, they maybe doing it for financial gain and not cultural gain.