Sunday, October 29, 2006
Using the new Google custom search engine builder http://google.com/coop/cse/ this is searches library and librarian blogs. The coolest part...this blog is listed!!! And I thought I was talking to myself :)
The engine searches over 500 blogs within the library profession! I used it to search a few things and it works quite well.
Give it a try.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Ok, why have I not heard about this book before? Found it while looking for suggestions for my book exchange group (CFUW). The author will be at The Different Drummer bookstore in Burlington ON on October 26. Anyone want to go with me??
Alberto Manguel in-store reading
Thursday, 26 October 2006
A Different Drummer Book Store
513 Locust Street
Different Drummer Book Store
From the Random House site:
"Written by Alberto Manguel
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Publisher: Knopf Canada
ISBN: 978-0-676-97588-8 (0-676-97588-7)
Pub Date: September 26, 2006
Buy from Local Store or Online Store.
About this Book
"The starting point is a question," Alberto Manguel writes in the introduction to The Library at Night: since few can doubt that the universe is ultimately meaningless and purposeless, why do we try to give it order? After all, our efforts are surely doomed to failure.
It’s hard to think of a more profound or serious subject to start with – but The Library at Night, Alberto Manguel says, is by no means a systematic answer. Rather, it is the story of the search for one. In the tradition of A History of Reading, this book is an account of Manguel’s astonishment at the variety, beauty and persistence of our efforts to shape the world and our lives, most notably through something almost as old as reading itself: libraries.
The result is both intimately personal and incredibly wide-ranging: it is a fascinating study of the mysteries of libraries, a thorough analysis of their history throughout the world and an esoteric, enchanting celebration of reading. It is, perhaps most of all, a book that only Alberto Manguel could have written.
The Library at Night begins with the design and construction of Alberto Manguel’s own library at his house in western France – a process that raises puzzling questions about his past and his reading habits, as well as broader ones about the nature of categories, catalogues, architecture and identity.
Exploring these themes with a deliberately unsystematic brilliance, Manguel takes us to the great Library at Alexandria, and Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence; we sit with Jorge Luis Borges in his office at the National Library in Argentina, travel with donkeys carrying books into the Colombian hinterland, and discover the Fihrist, a chaotic and delightful bibliographic record of medieval Arab knowledge. There seem to be no limits to Manguel’s learning, or his ability to illuminate his investigations with magical, telling details from the past.
Thematically organized and beautifully illustrated, this book considers libraries as treasure troves and architectural spaces; it looks on them as autobiographies of their owners and as statements of national identity. It examines small personal libraries and libraries that started as philanthropic ventures, and analyzes the unending promise – and defects – of virtual ones. It compares different methods of categorization (and what they imply) and libraries that have built up by chance as opposed to by conscious direction. Although it is encyclopedic (and discusses encyclopedias assembled by Diderot and fifteenth-century Chinese scholars alike) and full of concrete historical analysis (including a brief investigation of the prejudices underlying the Dewey Decimal System) this book is animated throughout by a gentle, even playful sensibility: it is governed by the browser’s logic of association and pleasure, rather than the rigid lines of scholarly theory. After all, everything in a library is connected: "As the librarians of Alexandria perhaps discovered, any single literary moment necessarily implies all others."
In part this is because this is about the library at night, not during the day: this book takes in what happens after the lights go out, when the world is sleeping, when books become the rightful owners of the library and the reader is the interloper. Then all daytime order is upended: one book calls to another across the shelves, and new alliances are created across time and space. And so, as well as the best design for a reading room and the makeup of Robinson Crusoe’s library, this book dwells on more "nocturnal" subjects: fictional libraries like those carried by Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster; shadow libraries of lost and censored books; imaginary libraries of books not yet written.
The Library at Night is a fascinating voyage through the mind of one our most beloved men of letters. It is an invitation into his memory and vast knowledge of books and civilizations, and throughout – though mostly implicitly – it is also a passionate defence of literacy, of the unique pleasures of reading, of the importance of the book. As much as anything else, The Library at Night reminds us of what a library stands for: the possibility of illumination, of a better path for our society and for us as individuals. That hope too, at the close, is replaced by something that fits this personal and eclectic book even better: something more fragile, and evanescent than illumination, though just as important.
The starting point is a question.
Outside theology and fantastic literature, few can doubt that the main features of our universe are its dearth of meaning and lack of discernible purpose. And yet, with bewildering optimism, we continue to assemble whatever scraps of information we can gather in scrolls and books and computer chips, on shelf after library shelf, whether material, virtual or otherwise, pathetically intent on lending the world a semblance of sense and order, while knowing perfectly well that, however much we’d like to believe the contrary, our pursuits are sadly doomed to failure.
Why then do we do it? Though I knew from the start that the question would most likely remain unanswered, the quest seemed worthwhile for its own sake. This book is the story of that quest.
–from The Library at Night"
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The Patent System on Tilt: IBM Seeks to Change the Game
by K. Matthew Dames
October 16, 2006 — When the nation’s most prolific patent company says that it is going to change the way in which it does business, folks tend to listen, particularly when so much of this nation’s commerce is tied up in commercialized intellectual property. IBM wants to change the way the patent system works, holding itself out as an exemplar of openness. What does IBM’s announcement really mean for an American patent system widely considered to be in mass disarray? It depends on whom you ask. IBM (http://www.ibm.com), though, is convinced that its initiative will help improve a patent system thought to be on the brink of collapse.
IP Outreach: Learn from the Past, Create the Future: Inventions and Patents: "Inventions and Patents is the first publication in WIPO’s new Learn from the Past, Create the Future series, created for school children as future innovators. It responds to the demand from Member States for practical and detailed curriculum materials on IP, suitable for use in classrooms around the world.
Combining fun with facts, and packed with illustrations, the publication takes its young readers on a colorful journey through the world of inventions and patents. Simple explanations of how patents work, why we need them, and how they contribute to scientific and technological progress, are interspersed with the stories behind successful inventions. Inventor Profiles are drawn from around the world, and teachers are encouraged to supplement these by getting their students to research inventions from their home country."
Found on PatentLibrarian blog
Friday, October 13, 2006
Transforming our catalog « McMaster University Library: "McMaster University will radically transform its online library catalogue becoming the first Canadian library to use a vibrant, revolutionary software; the same interface used by such retailers as Home Depot and Chapters/Indigo. The announcement comes a day after the University unveiled its new Learning Commons, yet another indication of the technological transformation occuring in the University’s libraries."
This is very interesting. We are currently looking into catalogue options and this makes me wonder if we could afford something like this.
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Black tea soothes away stress | Science Blog: "Daily cups of tea can help you recover more quickly from the stresses of everyday life, according to a new study by UCL (University College London) researchers. New scientific evidence shows that black tea has an effect on stress hormone levels in the body."
I knew it all along.