Literary Travel Locations

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I’m subscribed to Frommer’s mailing list and last week they emailed me with an article that I thought would be of interest to you all – Literary Locations Around the World.

Whether imagined or plucked from the author’s experience, book settings often play a key supporting role to the colorful characters and intriguing storylines. Be it a small cottage and garden in England’s Lake District, a stretch of street in a San Francisco suburb, or the city of Paris itself, here are 10 cities with inspiring literary locations for travelers of all ages.

Do Ebooks Need Cover Images?

Practical Open Source Software for Libraries

There was an interesting article on NPR about the art of cover images and the new world of eBooks. Chip Kidd, an associate art director at publisher Alfred A. Knopf, gave a talk about the art of cover image design.

Still, as Kidd tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer, all books — electronic, hardcover or paperback — need covers.

“They need some kind of visual representation, whether you’re going to be seeing them the size of a postage stamp on a computer screen or a smartphone, or sitting on a table, or on a shelf, or in a bookstore,” he says.

But goes on to say:

“People don’t buy a book on the Web because of the cover,” Kidd says. “They’ll buy a book on the Web because they’ve read a review or it’s word of mouth or some combination of the two.”

I agree with the above points, but I’d like to add that even when it comes to ebooks, I do still browse popular titles or titles like the one I’m reading and am drawn to specific cover images over others – so I hope that cover images stay a part of books forever and ever!

Google to buy Frommer’s?

My travel bookshelf is heavy on the Frommer's

My travel bookshelf is heavy on the Frommer’s

This from The Next Web:

Word on the street via The Wall Street Journal is that Google is acquiring the Frommer’s brand of travel guides for an undisclosed amount in order to beef up its travel-planning searches.

What remains to be see is whether Frommer’s will continue to have paper guides published, or whether the entire product will go digital.

I am a huge huge fan of Frommer’s books and actually don’t use the web resources much even though I keep saying I will. I buy a new Frommer’s book for every big trip and carry it around with me. While I love my Android and my Google Now feature (which this article poses will be improved with this data) I still want my Frommer’s books and hope that they don’t go away.

More on Open Access


I recently wrote about the cost of journal subscriptions for libraries and the argument for supporting open access. David Weinberger also recently wrote about open access, but his post was a summary of a few points from Open Access by Peter Suber (a book I’ll now be buying). One of the points that shocked me from David’s post:

“In 2010, Elsevier’s journal division had a profit margin of 35.7 percent while ExxonMobil had only 28.1 percent.” (p. 32)

Holy cow! That’s just insane. Read David’s post here and learn more about the book here.

Import Free Ebook Records to your Catalog


A couple years ago I brought a private project that shared Project Gutenberg records to your attention. Well, yesterday I thought I would go out and see if they had any more records to share so I could put them in to my Koha ILS demo site and found something awesome! Project Gutenberg has their own MARC exports (and other formats as well) that you can grab with over 40,000 records!!

If you’re using Koha, and want item records associated with these free MARC records take the file provided by Project Gutenberg and load it in to MarcEdit. Add a 942$c with your ebook type and then add a 952 with your branch and item type info. I did a tutorial video on this a while back that might help you. That’s what I did and now I have these titles in my catalog and searchable!

Learn more about the Koha item record in the 3.8 manual and get your own batch of free ebook MARC records at the Project Gutenberg wiki.

Ebook Trends: Info Pros Perspectives

Andy Woodworth was up first in the Ebook Trends talk. Andy’s talk was super fast and super awesome. I do hope that he shares his talk with us all so you can read that instead of my shortened summary.

Andy started by summing up his opinion of the current Ebook frontier as “Everything is amazing and no one is happy” He summed up all of the technology changes that have happened in our lifetime and that we take for granted.

What could possible be wrong with a product you don’t have to pay to print, don’t have to use gas to deliver and everyone from 4 to 400 can easily use?? Andy (appropriately) yelled the answer – EVERYTHING! Many publishers will not let libraries to lend they ebook content to start. It’s not that publishers don’t want library money, it’s that publishers do not trust our customers. While we try to uphold the policies of copyright, we can’t guarantee that our patrons will be honorable. The publisher things that they can then steal all of this content.

It all comes down to a problem with sharing! Not that we don’t share everything else everywhere else already. This is the horror that comes from breeding technology and culture together.

People are not waiting for libraries to solve the ebook lending problem – they’re coming up with their own ways to do it. We need to trust our users, we need to facilitate sharing. Every item that’s shared through your service is a book in a hand of someone who would otherwise be holding a competitors product.

Sarah Houghton was up next. Sarah started with some gratuitous cursing. Then we moved on to Sarah’s grandmother. She used to tell several lies to her grandchildren

  • Eat your crust it makes your hair curly
  • Only loose women get tattoos
  • Santa’s watching you

She had a tell whenever she lied – all the grandkids knew when she was lying because of the tells. Which brings us to some other lies that we’re being told:

Lies that library ebook vendors told you:

  • We’re broke:
    How many of you have indoor basketball courts in your library? Overdrive does.
  • 300% is as bad as it’s gonna get:
    It’s going to get worse before it gets better. It has to be so bad that the public starts to roar. If gas prices went up 300% there would be riots in the street
  • The publishers are forcing us to prevent you from owning these.
    Sarah has talked to the publishers – they actually don’t care.

There are lies that publishers tell us:

  • Libraries cost us money/steal our profits
  • Without digital rights management chaos will reign and no one will write anymore. (audience comment -we’re not doing it for the money)
  • Our business model has worked for hundreds of years and will work for hundreds more.
    It’s a failing business model.

We’re not without blame – lies we tell ourselves in libraries:

  • Everyone reads ebooks
    If you look at your circa stats you’re probably around 5-10%
  • We read our contracts and we negotiate hard
    “You don’t read your contract – most of you don’t.” Sarah says you need to learn to negotiate – take classes and learn legalese
  • Without ebooks our libraries will die
    We’re about communities and so much more than ebooks

Last up was Michael Porter (slides are on his site and slideshare). He started by asking us to think about what those before him said and what we all think. What used to make libraries work doesn’t make libraries work anymore. Michael feels that in the next 10 years the majority of content accessed in the library will be econtent not print materials. More and more people are using digital content already – we don’t buy as many CDs or DVDs anymore. I think that if we’re going to compete we have to find new solutions because what we have are broken.

“Libraries = Content + Community”

What we’re using now to facilitate the delivery of electronic content is broken. The current methods are very expensive, very inefficient and very unsustainable. We need something new and innovative.

Michael is here to represent a non profit (Library Renewal) made up of libraries who are trying to facilitate this change. He said it started with a question – what if we realized that we actually have control?

So Library Renewal is an organization that works on behalf of libraries to deal with the publishers. Right now we have vendors going in to secret meetings with the publishers to negotiate costs that benefit them – not us. And they are inviting libraries to come to Library Renewal and take back the control.

For the last 1.5 years they have been doing a lot of research at Library Renewal so they’ve been pretty quiet. They have been negotiating and building partnerships and developing solutions. At this point they are seeking funding to build the infrastructure.

The bottom line is that the system Library Renewal proposes will allow for more money for the rights holder and publishers and a huge savings for libraries.

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Book Review: Zotero by Jason Puckett

Ages ago I got a copy of Zotero: a guide for librarians, researchers and educators by Jason Puckett with the intention of reading it and reviewing it. Soon after I was hit with medical problem after medical problem and even though I read it cover to cover in practically no time at all, the book has been left un-reviewed. So here we go!

I am a huge Zotero fan, in fact I learned of Zotero from Jason Puckett’s amazing research guide on the topic. I thought I had learned all there was to know, until I read this book.

I guess I should start (for those of you who don’t know) with an explanation of what Zotero is and why you’d want to use it. The official website defines Zotero as “an easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.” I call Zotero a bibliography tool, but really it’s much more. I use Zotero to save information on articles, news, blog posts and books that I find on a daily basis, I use it to keep the bibliographies for my books and articles so that I can easily access then while I finish writing.

Jason does an awesome job of explaining how to perform both basic and advanced functions using Zotero. His book is geared not only to librarians, but to anyone doing research, to anyone who might benefit from a research assistant in their browser. The book is organized so that How Tos take up the first 5 chapters and then the last two cover how to teach Zotero to your patrons, students, friends, etc and how to support Zotero in your institution.

This handy guide is a must have for anyone who does research or writes for publication. This guide, for that matter, is for anyone who is tired of using proprietary tools to manage their bibliography and would like a bit more control and a lot more friendly functionality.

I’m sorry it took me so long to share this review with you all, but I hope that you’ll still run out and read a copy of Jason’s book because it’s well worth it!

Information Today Inc. Book Sale

Information Today, Inc. is offering a one-time discount to all of our customers, friends, and family. From now through Monday, January 16, 2012, receive 40% off all book purchases made through the Information Today, Inc. website. The discount is good on an unlimited number of orders placed during the sale period—and with more than 150 titles available on our website, there’s something for everyone.

To get the discount, use the promo code ITIHOLIDAY at the check out on our online store.

Donate A Book Day in April

Later this month the first Donate-A-Book day will take place at libraries around the country.

On April 14, readers across the U.S. will be encouraged to donate new or gently used books to their local libraries. Books will be added to the library’s collections, with remaining books given to the Friends of the Library, for use at their annual booksale fundraisers.

For more info please read the press release and get those books ready for donation (I know I have a few I’ve been waiting to get over to the library … now I have an excuse :) )

Technology Grant Success Stories Needed

I received this via email and figured that some of my readers might be interested.

Pam MacKellar is looking for technology grant success stories to include in her new book: Writing Successful Technology Grant Proposals: A LITA Guide.

If you have been successful at winning a grant for a library project of any kind that utilizes technology, she’d love to hear from you! Just go to and complete the form by April 30, 2011. One lucky person who submits a success story will win a copy of the new book.

Questions: Contact Pam at