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Librarian Blog

Wasn't this inevitable?

Big Data meet Big Publishing.
That's the theme of a story just published by Susanne Althoff of Emerson Collge in Boston.
The title: "Algorithms Could Save Book Publishing -- But Ruin Novels."
If you know anything about how numbers crunching works these days of super speeds and super capacities, you kinda knew this was coming: Someone with a big machine would run best-selling novels through a program and figure oiut which plots and characters sell the best across a broad spectrum.
And then -- voila! -- have the computer use that information to church out similar novels without the inconvenience (and expense) of real live authors.
Don't think they won't try it and do it.
After all, Big Data + Google + Uber + Apple equals a driverless car.

We made it!

How do you know for certain that your profession has finally made it as certifiably "serious?"
You know when articles about what you do for a living bear titles (and subject matter?) that are so obscure as to be virtually meaningless.
On that count, we librarians have made it!
Consider the title of this article, recommended for our elucidation by InfoDocket on Sept. 16:
"New Research Article: 'Professional and Citizen Bibliometrics: Complementarities and Ambivalences in the Development and Use of Indicators.'"

Something new ... to me

Every once in a while someone comes in and asks us to print out a list of everything he or she has read in the past, oh, year or so.
We can do that, althoiugh it's not a quick and simple process.
I surely do understand the desire to have such a list. We have quite a number of patrons who are reading books from our Louis L'Amour collection. That's a lot of books to keep track of to make sure you don't repeat before you've gone through the entire bunch.
Likewise with someone like James Patterson.
And upon occasion I've thought it would be neat if I had had the forethought to put keep a list of what I've read, just in case someone asked about this or that book and I couldn't -- inevitably -- recall whether I had read it or not and/or whether I would recommend it, etc.
Turns out there is such a thing -- online, of course.
It's called: Librarything.com.
Here is what the website says:

What is LibraryThing?

LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for book lovers.

LibraryThing helps you create a library-quality catalog of books: books you own, books you've read, books you'd like to read, books you've lent out ... whatever grouping you'd like.

Since everyone catalogs online, they also catalog together. You can contribute tags, ratings and reviews for a book, and Common Knowledge (facts about a book or author, like character names and awards), as well as participate in member forums or join the Early Reviewers program. Everyone gets the benefit of everyone else's work. LibraryThing connects people based on the books they share.

I will be signing up.

Looking to be offensive

I guess I should no longer be surprised by what offends people -- and what does not.
What does not: Bad grammar nearly everywhere -- public signage, newspaper headlines, magazine articles, books!
What also does not: Bad language, likewise nearly everywhere, even in presidential campaigns.
And this: Misbehaving kids all over the place, even in fine restaurants.
Of course, TV is just rife with stuff that would make my mother and father blush, and my grandmother would simply die of embarassment and shame.
But, what does offend: Things like this -- a window display in a bookstore window of banned books that includes a cover copy of Little Black Sambo.
This is so awful that protesters in Oregon have actually shut down the independent bookstore that had the silly notion that you could make public the stupidity of people who want to ban books by showing banned books and that would be OK!
I'm offended.

Test your product

For my monthly cooking classes, I generally try to pick a theme and then arrange a menu around the theme.
For example, tonight I'm cooking a number of Spanish dishes, mainly tapas, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins Sept. 15 in this country.
I thought I'd go Old School on the plates, rather than picking something, as I have in the past, from the Americas.
After tonight, I'll be thinking about October's menu, and I may have some help on it. Jane Wyatt, president of LazyTexan products, came by this morning with a sample of her seasoning mix for me to try out. We started talking, and she's going to come up with something using one or more of her food products for a German-themed menu in October -- for Oktoberfest.
This is a good opportunity for her to get the word out about her new business and line of food products; it's good for my class; and it should be good for those who attend on Oct. 3.
So, here's the deal: If  you  have a food product or idea for a product and want to test it out and get the word out, come by and let's talk about featuring what you have in progress.
Or give me a call: 512-847-2188!
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