So, some fun, semi-related book things. Today we got a pile of new books and one of them had this streamer in it:
We've been having a good time trying to decipher the meaning of RRD (POD) Do Not Dot See Lead. We think POD means "purchase on demand." Other than that, we have no clue. Though we're pretty sure this use of "lead" is pronounced "leed," but we think it would be better if it were prounounced "led."
Studying much? Ask the Past: Advice From Old Books tells us how to survive our studies, 1576-style. According to Levinus Lemnius, author of The Touchstone of Complexions (and as interpreted by Ask the Past), "the bad news is that the grosse and fulsome vapours provoked by studying will mess you up if you don't exercise. But the good news is that reading counts as exercise... if you do it with a lowde and bigge sound. This workout technique is sure to charm the other library patrons."
Agostino Ramilli's Book Wheel (1588)
Finally, the subfreshman science students have just completed their nonfiction-science-free-reading-and-book-dating project. Here's a shot of the speed dating piece.
Two things on the Internet are making me happy today. The first one is College Humor's post called "8 Punctuation Marks We Desperately Need." Even the comments are good. Everyone seems to favor the "Morgan Freemark" (reminds readers they can read in any voice they want, so maybe they should use Morgan Freeman's), but I think my personal fav is the "Andorpersand":
The second item that gives me glee is an editorial in the "Shakerite," a public forum (student newspaper?) published seven times a year for and by students of Shaker Heights (Ohio) High School. It has a great title: "Rand Paul Needs a NoodleBib Account." If you haven't heard, Rand Paul (a potential Republican candidate for President) was recently called out for plagiarism. Shakerite writer Shane McKeon wonders, "Regardless of the reason, if Paul can't cite his sources at a 10th-grade level, it scares me that he wants to be president."
McKeon also addresses what he calls his school's "War on Wikipedia." Teachers and librarians admonish students not to use it, but teachers also seem to follow a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. So students use Wikipedia, but don't cite it. He charmingly argues that "We must recognize that this is happening. Instead of discouraging Wikipedia completely, the school should teach kids to practice safe sourcing. Teachers and librarians should demonstrate ways for students to avoid unwanted plagiarism. Students should talk openly and frankly with their project partners, stressing the need for safe, consensual Wikipedia use." And I would add, you can enhance your sourcing experience by getting yourself a NoodleBib account.
Here's what I'm taking home for Thanksgiving Break - Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure. Or, to be more exact, the book is written "by Ryan North, William Shakespeare, and YOU." You can read the play from the point of view of Hamlet, Ophelia, or Hamlet's dad (who, yes, dies on page two). It's gotten a lot of buzz from the likes of Slate and Wired and other trend-watching media outlets.
The crowd-sourced funding for this book raised $580,905 on a $20,000 goal. Just wow. With all that cash, North (writer of the astonishingly-clever Dinosaur Comics) was able to produce a beautiful piece of work with full color on all the illustrations, created by over 70 different artists. Dozens of free copies went to schools, libraries, colleges, and universities (of which we were one, except that I forgot about it and ordered one for us, so eventually we will have two copies, which is perfectly all right).
Fifty years ago, on Novembert 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was a day that changed American consciousness forever. We lost our complacency, our feelings of invulnerability in an otherwise insecure world.
Thanks to the foresight of the library staff who were at Uni High in 1963, the library is in possession of a substantial amount of material that was published on or soon after the assassination. We've spread everything out on two tables in the library's front room. Stop by to peruse articles from the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette, the Champaign-Urbana Courier, the Daily Illini, the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, Look Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post, and Life Magazine. You'll see that the paper is yellowed and fragile, so do take care when turning the pages.
There's something magical about handling newsprint that was printed 50 years ago and reading stories told through local eyes - along with the opportunity to check out surrounding articles and advertisements from the time period. Unless you can take a trip to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to peruse their 2,000 cubic feet of materials on the assassination, this is a pretty interesting experience.
Ever wonder how ads about stuff you might be mildly interested in seem to follow you everywhere on the Internet? You probably already know that you are being tracked, most often for the purpose of target marketing. I just learned about Ghostery, a browser extension that tells you - in real time - who is tracking you when you click on a website. What's more, you can block (or unblock) any of those agents. Ghostery and other services like it are responding to a growing concern about privacy online.
The one that looks faded and has a strike-through (DoubleClick) is one I blocked.
It gets better. Anyone remember the the news coverage of Target figuring out how a teen girl was pregnant before her father did?
Woah, no fewer than 33entities tracking me on that one.
The details were originally uncovered by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, who was able to get the scoop from Target statitician Andrew Pole, before the company put a halt to their comminication.
Well, that's a relief. Only 19 trackers on this particular New York Times story.
The good old days weren't always so good. For unfathomable reasons, we discovered we hadn't had the good sense to weed our copy of ALA Library Clip Art, published in 1983. Maybe it was nostalgia, maybe it was because a lot of the art was actually quite charming. Reading through it now, though, it's just painful. The arduous task of making "camera-ready copy" for a library's publicity materials is something today's young folk couldn't imagine. It involved use of a T-square, removing self-stick backing, centering art by hand, using spray mount adhesive (and waiting for it to dry), and all sorts of other crafty tasks that desktop publishing has rendered beyond obsolete. And don't get me started on press-on letters. Here are a couple representative pages of the artwork from this tome:
Okay, who can identify that second-down-on-the-right image? That's right - microfilm! It's interesting to see that the typeface for People, Ms. and Time is still the same.
How quaint - ye olde telphone!
Best part of all this -- tucked into the pages was one of my old handouts, ca. 1987. I'd used some of the clip art from the book. Check out this paragraph:
"Technological advances have helped to increase the services available at Uni library. Students can access online bibliographic databases through telecommunication links to Dialog Information Services. A new CD-ROM station houses various periodical indexes and an electronic version of World Book Encyclopedia."
Before there was the Online Gargoyle, there was the Gargoyle (yes, in print form). Before there was the Gargoyle, there was Just Us. And before there was Just Us, there was Tiny Illini. For real, The Tiny Illini. We found a bunch of issues that were in serious danger of disintegration. So Paul set about scanning them for printing on modern-day, non-crumbling paper. In the process, he found a few gems. On November 1st, 1921:
"The University High School will be glad to receive any books suitable for the high school library. Any one wishing to donate such books, will confer a favor to the University High School by communicating with Miss Sankee, the librarian."
And right below that a brief announcement titled "Map Work":
"Mr. Foster just received his new hectograph. That means map work will start in History classes. Each pupil taking history has been required to purchase a crowquill pen, black ink, American school crayons, and Art-gum."
Hm, have to look up several terms to fully appreciate that last one.
Though light in tone, some of the articles refer to pretty serious matters: