Saturday, October 06, 2001

Though it's more a floating bookstore than a floating library, I couldn't resist this one:

One of the largest floating libraries in the world is set to dock in Belfast (Ireland) this autumn. The MV Logos II, a 4,804 ton ocean-going ship, was launched in 1989 as a bold experiment in promoting international understanding and goodwill.

It has visited 70 countries, welcoming on board some seven million visitors to either the book exhibition, on-board conferences or its international cafe . . . It carries an extensive book fair of over half a million books of 4,000 different titles in several different languages, covering a wide range of topics to cater for everyone's interests .

A bit more from the Belfast Telegraph. The MV Logos II is operated by Education Book Exhibits Ltd., an non-profit based in Germany.
General Motors happily picks up the slack as another government fails to provide for its libraries - Ontario's, in this case:

The business section of London's new downtown library will carry a blue-chip name, courtesy of one of the region's largest manufacturers. The section will be called the General Motors Business and Career Centre, officials said yesterday.

The announcement came as the library received a $120,000 donation from General Motors of Canada at its sprawling London works, where one operation, GM Electro-Motive division, builds diesel locomotives and another, GM Defense, military vehicles.

The $25.7-million downtown library, being built in space formerly occupied by the Bay in Galleria London, is scheduled to open in June.

More from Canoe. Coca-Cola is also promising $1 million to fund public library reading initiatives in Canada. Opportunism or the modern equivalent of the Carnegie Library Grants?

Friday, October 05, 2001

Eliades Acosta Matos, director of the José Martí National Library, reports on Cuban libraries under the embargo:

The cost of the embargo to the cultural life of the Cuban nation is immense and difficult to reduce to numbers. Still, it can be gleaned from the difficulties we face in acquiring the paper we need to print books, magazines and journals, and in obtaining the oil we need to generate the electricity that ensures, for instance, that our public libraries are not forced to reduce their evening hours. The embargo also makes it necessary for those who wish to donate books to Cuba–geography books, history books, children's books, dictionaries, encyclopedias or novels–to send them through Canada or Mexico. Of course, other technologies as well, computers, photocopy machines, microfilm readers, television sets or music players, items essential to the daily operation of any library, also face these same travel-related restrictions. And how could there be a normal and fluid exchange between Cuban and American colleagues when U. S. citizens face a fine of up to 250,000 dollars and ten years imprisonment if they travel, for instance, to a library conference in Cuba without first obtaining a license from the U. S. Treasury Department?

More from Movable Type. Thanks to
New issues of First Monday and Ariadne are available:


Tracy Gardner: "An Introduction to Web Services" / Paul Miller: "Architects of the Information Age" / Judith Clark: Subject Portals / Stephen Pinfield: "Managing Electronic Library Services: Current Issues in UK Higher Education Institutions" / John Kirriemuir: "Creating a Digital Library Centre" / + more

First Monday

Richard W. Wiggins: "The Effects of September 11 on the Leading Search Engine" / Andie Miller: "Reaching Across the Divide: The Challenges of Using the Internet to Bridge Disparities in Access to Information" / Timothy C. Craven: "Changes in Metatag Descriptions Over Time" / + more

Thursday, October 04, 2001

"Aspects of the Victorian Book", a nicely put together new online exhibit, has "opened" at the British Library:

With over 100 images, and expert commentary, the exhibition charts the growth of the mass-market in books and journals, the precursors of today’s paperbacks, popular magazines and newspapers. It shows how production and publishing were transformed by the mechanisation of printing processes, the growing use of lithography and photography, and the introduction of new formats (such as magazines, popular novels, ‘yellowbacks’, and ‘penny dreadfuls’).

Marcella Leembruggen "Aimed at the general reader and at anyone interested in book history, the exhibition has been prepared to mark the Centenary of Queen Victoria’s death, and to celebrate the wealth of 19th century material in the Library’s collections."

The entire BL press release can be found here.

Joost G. Kircz envisions a hybrid future for the scientific literature:

Discussion about the value of electronic documents is often hampered by starting from what is usual in the paper world and attempting to impose that on an electronic environment. In order to grasp the impact of the current electronic revolution, and formulate a policy for the future, we examine the aims and content of scientific communication. We then critically discuss the recommendations of an International Working Group [see Learned Publishing 2000:13(4) Oct. 251-8], and show the tension between these very reasonable recommendations and the reality of electronic publishing. We conclude that the scientific article will change considerably but that, in its new more composite form as an ensemble of various textual and non-textual components, it will retain many of the current cultural and scientific requirements with regard to editorial, quality and integrity.

More (as either a RealPage or PDF file) from Learned Publishing.

Mexico has donated 30,000 Spanish language books to Denver (CO) area public schools:

The taxpayers of Mexico recognize this effort because for us, Mexicans living in the United States are important," Leticia Calzada Lopez, the Mexican consul in Denver, said after a DPS truck unloaded the largest shipment, at Munroe Elementary School. "We never forget our conationals in the United States."

DPS has received books from Mexico for four years, but never so many, district officials said. The increase stems from Mexican President Vicente Fox's efforts to provide services to Mexicans living abroad, Lopez said. Books are going to other school districts in Colorado and nationwide as well, she said.

Students welcomed Lopez to a press conference by holding up a sign reading, "Los nin~os de Munroe decimos Gracias!" Lopez reminded her listeners that Mexico, too, is a melting pot, with at least 62 languages spoken. "Our challenge is to come to grips with this multicultural reality," she said.

More from the Denver Post.

A report on self-censorship on the Web in the wake of 9/11 from today's Boston Globe :

Before Sept. 11, you could have visited the Federation of American Scientists' Web site for diagrams and photos of US intelligence facilities. You could have gone to another Web site and learned of gatherings at North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base. And you could have gone online and ordered maps of military installations.

No longer.

Concerned they could be aiding terrorists, some government and private Web sites have decided to stop sharing quite so much potentially sensitive data. Such self-censorship would not prevent terrorists from turning to libraries or even other Web sites for information that could be useful in attacks. ''But that is not a justification for publishing it in easily accessible ways. Let them work for it,'' said Steven Aftergood, senior research analyst at the scientists' group.


In a bid to lampoon the current state of copyright law, two Australian composers have secured the rights to 100,000,000,000 telephone tone sequences:

With the aid of a computer, [Nigel] Helyer and [Jon] Drummond have notated the tones of every imaginable phone number combination and, in turn, claimed the melodies as their own. Next time you make a phone call, therefore, chances are you'll be in breach of international copyright law.

If business can claim ownership over the elemental building blocks of human life, the composers say it's only fitting that artists lay claim to the "DNA" of business and are paid for it.

"We're saying to (big business), 'Okay guys, the boot is on the other foot. If you really believe in copyright, you've got to pay'," Helyer says.

More from The Age. More information (e.g. whether they own YOUR number) can be found at the project's website.