Marshall Breeding reviews the latest in library tech.

American Library Association • May 1, 2018
Syracuse SIS

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Library systems report, 2018

Library systems report, 2018

Read this state-of-the-art report on library systems technology by Marshall Breeding: “The age of client-server computing has passed, and the transition to web interfaces is long overdue. Libraries seek fully web-based products without compromising the rich functionality and efficiencies embodied in legacy platforms. It’s unfortunate at this late phase of the cycle of cloud computing that development efforts are consumed in a lateral move toward new interfaces at the expense of innovations.”...

American Libraries feature, May

Libraries as private spaces

Big data is watching you

Jason Griffey writes: “Almost the entirety of the modern web is predicated on surveillance capitalism, with targeted advertising being the driving force behind many of the largest companies in the world. Nearly every social network is in this category, as are the largest web retailers. Google is, famously, not really a search company, nor is it driven by a desire to organize the world’s information. It is an advertising company, with 90% of its revenue coming from some form of advertising based on the things it knows about you.”...

Choose Privacy Week, May 1; Investopedia, Nov. 13, 2017

Two ALA Endowment Fund openings

ALA Endowment

Applications are now being accepted for two expiring terms on the ALA Endowment Trustees committee. The candidates will be selected by the Executive Board at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The three-year terms will expire at the conclusion of the 2021 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. All applicants will be required to submit an application form and three references by June 1....

ALA Finance Department, Apr. 27

IMLS selects five libraries for National Medal

Pueblo City-County (Colo.) Library District

The Institute of Museum and Library Services on May 1 announced the five library winners of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service: Georgetown (Tex.) Public Library, Orange County (Fla.) Library System, Pueblo City-County (Colo.) Library District, Reading (Pa.) Public Library, and Rochester (Minn.) Public Library. Five museums are also receiving the award, which will be presented at an event at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., on May 24....

Institute of Museum and Library Services, May 1
Dewey Decibel podcast

Fort Worth writes off 30 years of library fines

Fort Worth (Tex.) Public Library

Residents of Fort Worth, Texas, with a library fine on the books before 2014 are getting a reprieve. The library has records dating back nearly 30 years of unpaid fines and fees totaling $14.3 million, but it now considers that data so old it is writing off $11.5 million of that debt. It’s not that the city hasn’t tried to collect the money. When it has, patrons addresses and phone numbers don’t match up, or letters come back as undeliverable or the person is in bankruptcy....

Fort Worth (Tex.) Star-Telegram, Apr. 30

Conservative group objects to library’s storytime choice

Cover of Justice Makes a Difference

Adam Tate and his wife Meagan took their three children to a recent O’Fallon (Ill.) Public Library event that he says is “exactly the kind of program” he likes his family to attend. However, the library has come under fire from a conservative political group for its March 24 children’s storytime program, saying the event was attempting “social indoctrination.” At issue was the library’s book choice—Justice Makes a Difference: The Story of Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire—as well as how it promoted the event. Tate said he was surprised to hear about the objections....

Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat, Apr. 29

2018 James Beard Media Foundation Awards

Cover of The Cooking Gene, by Michael W. Twitty

At an April 27 ceremony in New York City, the James Beard Foundation announced its Media Award winners for 2018. Formerly known as the Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards—the broad categories the foundation still recognizes—the festivities saw wins for cookbook authors like Samin Nosrat, Sean Sherman, Stella Parks, as well as culinary writer (and honorary chair of ALA’s Preservation Week) Michael W. Twitty, who took home the award for writing and for book of the year for The Cooking Gene....

Eater, Apr. 27; American Libraries Trend, Apr. 27
ALA news

UIUC acquires Isaac Newton manuscript

Section of Opus Galli Anonymi

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library has acquired a manuscript written by Sir Isaac Newton that provides instructions for making the philosopher’s stone, an alchemical substance thought capable of transforming base metals into gold. The Opus Galli Anonymi is Newton’s Latin translation of a French work on creating the substance, with corrections and notes by Newton based on his own scientific work. The library bought the manuscript at auction for $275,000....

Illinois News Bureau, Apr. 30

Exhibition reveals secrets of Cambridge University tower

Children’s books in the Cambridge University Library tower

Despite undergraduate folklore, there is no secret stash of pornography among the nearly one million books in the 17 floors of the Cambridge University Library tower, rising 157 feet above the library. The building, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, was completed in 1934 to mixed reviews. The truth, revealed in the new exhibition “Tall Tales,” is that the tower stores Victorian and Edwardian children’s books, comics, dress patterns, cookbooks, paper toys, board games, paperback thrillers, and bodice rippers—secondary publications that librarians assumed no one would want to look at again....

The Guardian (UK), Apr. 30; The Independent (UK), Apr. 30
Latest Library Links

Hebrew books added to Berlin’s public libraries

Hebrew books at the Bettina-von-Arnim library, Berlin

Antje Haussner, the director of the Bettina-von-Arnim library in Berlin, Germany, is trying to add a new book to the library catalog, but it is in Hebrew, a challenge even for the most determined German librarian. In March, new Hebrew books entered Berlin’s public libraries under the label “Hebräisch.” Behind the initiative is the Hebrew Public Library, a group of Israeli Berliners who have launched a remarkable number of projects in the field of language and literature, all making Berlin more Hebrew than ever before....

The Local, Apr. 30

AI is cracking open the Vatican Secret Archives

The papal archives

Sam Kean writes: “The Vatican Secret Archives is one of the grandest historical collections in the world. Located within the Vatican’s walls, the VSA houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries. That said, the VSA isn’t much use to modern scholars because it’s so inaccessible. But a new project could change all that. Known as In Codice Ratio, it uses a combination of artificial intelligence and OCR software to scour these neglected texts and make transcripts available for the first time.”...

The Atlantic, Apr. 30

The Great American Read

The Great American Read

On May 22, PBS will premiere an eight-part TV series that asks “What is America’s favorite book?” Hosted by Meredith Vieira, The Great American Read puts the focus on fiction and intends to “to get the country reading and passionately talking about books.” Episodes will feature authors, celebrities, and notable American book lovers. The idea is to get everyone to vote for their favorite novels via social media until the series finale in October. In preparation for the debut, PBS has posted its list of “100 most-loved books.”...

Fine Books and Collections, May 1

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