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    • CommentAuthorrobb
    • CommentTimeDec 17th 2007
    paraphrasing my boss: "print is 100 years ahead of the screen and web: if the type is too small or blurry, lift the book closer to your face."
  1.  (23.62)
    I think it comes down to is that in print its truly "put your money where your mouth is" and hence can't take chances at the truth like Web deos in it's misinformation.
    Sure you might have skewed BS in many books coming to print now, but the amount of SLAG in print is nothing to the amount of garbage SLAG on the web. Check some freaking WIkis and you'll see. If you going to print about Spanish you better have better ideas about it than Wikipedia does, so in the face of that matter, I take books with a little breath Authoritative-ness only because I know people put up chunks of money for it. I mean Encyclopedia Britannica maybe god awfully expensive but at least i can be sure they're right, right?

    I mean someone mentioned the whole idea of an "Escape from LA" style world encompassing EMP shitting out digital records into non-existence so we may have to turn to books anyway if we hope to cleave any sort of society from it. Then again it might be the best friggin' thing that can happen, no?
    • CommentAuthorsteevo
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009 edited
    School making bookless library. Is it just me, or does taking the free-ness of books out of the equation kind of ruin the point of a library? Have fun buying your Kindles kids!
  2.  (23.64)
    @ steevo:

    ARGH!!! That story infuriates me. The statement "When I look at books, I see an outdated technology" is (and maybe it's just me that feels this way :P) an outdated way of thinking in which every new device, toy, invention, gadget, vehicle, fashion must inexplicably and unquestionably replace that which came before with no forethought. Why is there no value given to striking a balance between old and new technology and methodology? Reuse and merge. Synthesis. A weighted and understood balance instead of disparity or drastic extremes in how we learn or share information, education, construction, agriculture, etc.
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
    I work at a library wholesaler. We do all right. Know what's booming in libraries? Comics. Manga, especially.

    There will always be people who like books, ink-on-paper, squire.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
    Alexander Coyle, chairman of the history department, is a self-described “gadget freak’’ who enjoys reading on Amazon’s Kindle, but he has always seen libraries and their hallowed content as “secular cathedrals.’’

    “I wouldn’t want to ever get rid of any of my books at home,’’ he said. “I like the feel of them too much. A lot us are wondering how this changes the dignity of the library, and why we can’t move to increase digital resources while keeping the books.’’

    If for example someone were to inherit or to want to bequeath a private library like that ... consisting of maybe 4000 scholarly books and such about Ancient (mostly Roman and Greek) History ... do you have any suggestions on what to do with them? Approximately 400 linear feet of shelf space.
  3.  (23.67)
    @ Fan:

    Hmm...if i were to receive such a prize, I would re-imagine the space of my home (IF i had a house or a loft, not the apartment i have now).
    Drawings and paintings would be secured flat to the ceilings...the bare walls become home to shelving from floor to ceiling...built-in casework.
    Some drawings or paintings or photos could remain...books akin to the images arrayed around it, framing it visually.
    Entire new partitions dividing larger spaces...walls of books.

    Of course....the structure would have to actually be able to HOLD the load brought on by their weight!
    I heard today about a library recently finished where the structural engineer didn't properly calculate the weight of the books.
    So for now, until additional framing and support is provided, they have to stack books on every other floor.

    Umberto Eco makes mention of his collection here:,1518,659577,00.html

    I've been reading Eco's work for a long time...and I'm still not sure how serious or satirical he's being in that article given his wry wit.
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
    I think if you're determined enough, you could give them away, it would take some trying but you could find a library that would take bits and pieces here and there, though the cost associated with taking in a huge collection of new(old) books can be prohibitive for some institutions (small public libraries) and for the ones where that's less important (a large university) then they may already have a lot of your collection. There's always someplace for the books to go.

    Why is there no value given to striking a balance between old and new technology and methodology? Reuse and merge. Synthesis. A weighted and understood balance instead of disparity or drastic extremes in how we learn or share information, education, construction, agriculture, etc.

    Steven Thomas, I think your sentiment is generally echoed in the approach of most people in the Library profession. we're really big on NEW COOL THINGS that get information to users faster, easier and more broadly, but there's a lot of concern with sacrificing the long term viability of the library to short term shifts in technology.

    If you took all your movies and transfered them from film into Betamax because Betamax is new and better and awesome then you would be in a huge pile of shit right now and I think there's some danger that wholly embracing the digital with this kind of immediacy in any broad sense in problematic at best.

    One of several big problems I've got with this in general is that we're not very good at preserving digital materials, books are pretty easy to preserve infrastructure wish: place on shelf in cool, dry, dark place. Digital materials have a number of disadvantages for all of the amazing advantages over print. There's still a lot of working out to be done with all of the digital "texts" and "books" and everything. "May you live in interesting times," indeed.
  4.  (23.69)
    4000 scholarly books and such about Ancient (mostly Roman and Greek) History ... do you have any suggestions on what to do with them? Approximately 400 linear feet of shelf space.

    I'd take them!!!!! I have no idea what I'd do with them (Beyond read them) but oooh my ghosh.
    • CommentAuthormunin218
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
    Heh. Interesting seeing my comment in '07 about not going for ebooks.

    I've recently purchased a Sony Reader because I live in a shoebox and there's already no more room for my (already halved) book collection. For books I don't want to read a million times and treasure forever, a digital copy isnt so bad. The Reader is a nifty little gadget.
  5.  (23.71)
    Bah! Light doesn't stick to your brain the same way print does. Fuck E-Readers, they are pointless, it's not like books are so problematic, if you don't want to keep them, sell them, give them to hospitals and charity shops., shit even get your mates together dress up as the S.S. and burn them in a big pile, or is it way cooler to be a futique poseur?
    • CommentAuthorTwist
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009 edited
    @ Steven Thomas: The Frank's solved this problem with some awesome shelving units (The Frank's being the owners of one of the biggest privately owned sci-fi and fantasy art collections). It involved sliding doors that were set at certain depths so paintings could be hung from them and not damaged when you slid one. I want their house...

    As for this ULIB site... I'd be more impressed if it worked. They DO appear to be doing maintenance so I will try again tomorrow, but every time I'm directed to one of these things I end up being bitterly disappointed with the results.

    Edit: Because my typing sucks.
  6.  (23.73)
    @Sarpedon: That's encouraging to hear. I have a couple of friends who have worked or managed libraries to some degree and they're exactly as you described yourself also. Perhaps the Headmaster of the school in question doesn't have any background of experience when it comes to libraries.

    I was discussing this with some other friends and not only is his choice a complete shift in the physical manner of reading, studying, and gathering information (giving up 1 method and relying only upon another instead of utilizing both)...but it's also a shift in the architecture and the space. He's going to replace a secular space devoted to silence and respect and contemplation with a coffee-shop/office-space.

    @Twist: I've quickly looked around online but can't find any images of The Frank's gallery. Will look some more later, but what you described sounds very cool.

    About E-readers for students:
    Another friend and i discussed this and we decided, sure...for textbooks and reference materials, etc. perhaps it's a great idea. Looking back i remember the mountains of text book duplicates stacked in each class room...each one becoming progressively older or already out-dated. Chances are they were donated and what wasn't taken was burned or shipped off to the dump before recycling became more popular. I don't know how schools typically manage them these days (any teachers here know?)

    BUT...if that's what's done, make the text book e-readers into BIG THICK E-READERS, like old early 90's laptops. We had to lug around books that were practically bible-thick! Dang kids will have it too easy these days with some slim little gadgetry. I'm joking...okay no I'm probably not. ;)
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009 edited
    I want to make my house look like the Sir John Soanes Museum.

    Th explosion of information available electronically forced people to consider the different kinds of information and how they would keep it, or not. This is not a new question--some people who failed to answer it ended up buried alive under stacks of newspapers in their homes--and it doesn't have to be settled one way or the other. Speaking of which, you'd think the private school would, you know, try the all-singing all-dancing paperless library of the future as a pilot project, just to see how it worked out.

    I'm all for electronic libraries, mostly for reference material. As someone who collects old prints, I've downloaded volume sets' worth of PDFs of out-of-print reference books (h/t, and the odd newspaper article digitized out of the morgue. I'd Bit-Torrent the entire Hollstein's if I could, but it costs a lot to produce and there's a museum library in town that has it, so it's for the best that I go to visit it. Hard luck for textbook publishers. Students are going to pirate e-textbooks like there's no tomorrow, especially since many of them go out of date in a few years. I can see schools being the field for some vicious copyright and DRM battles, even more so than with mp3s.

    But I'm reading those PDFs on a Powerbook and not a Kindle or any other specialized device. Established formats like PDF work for most purposes, and the makers of new e-book formats can't seem to resist adding DRM, while those making e-book readers would prefer to lock out non-proprietary, or at least non-DRMed content. (If the .jpg was being invented now, the usual suspects would try to DRM the living shit out of it. The inventor of the GIF enforced copyright but it became moot.) In any case, the Kindle and devices like it look like where portable computers have headed physically and pricewise, so why buy them?
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009
    The public library here in town is a thoroughly depressing place. i wouldn't mind seeing it go.

    However I'm pretty sure there's still a niche for libraries with special collections: rare books, old books, that kind of stuff. Book stores also seem to be doing well, I always see lots of people browsing, though I admit I don't know whether they buy anything...
  7.  (23.76)
    i love libraries - and book shops for that matter - just being surrounded by that many books is something i get a real thrill from. i'm not opposed to these new fangled electronic versions i think they'll do what mp3's have done for the music industry and open up publishing to the masses (whether that's good or bad you decide) but personally i'm in no rush to get one. i think i would utterly miss the tactile nature of a bundle of paper.

    also without our love affair with the dead tree we'd risk losing places like these.
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2009
    My main problem with digital books is the fact I can easily read 5 books in a week, which I get for free from my library mostly, but there is no way in hell I can afford 5 digital books a week, even if someone bought me a kindle or equivalent. And I would not be comfortable with having it on the tube every day, whereas I don't worry about losing a book quite as much.
    Then again, I am so one of the people who gets a rush from libraries, my first trip to Senate House library in London I was totally in awe, I had to remind myself not to laugh out loud when I was in the British Library.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2009
    After years of being completely underwhelmed by Libraries in the UK, we joined the Reykjavik city library. And i could certainly see the difference. Even though it was a non-english library, the english/other languages section was absolutely massive and very current in it´s selection. In the Magazines section they had both 200AD AND Wire magazine. But the best bit was the "Graphic Novel" section which contained just about every genre of graphic novel and comic book you could think of. Indeed i received a fair amount of Twitter envy earlier this week when i told people what was available there.
    All of this was certainly an eye opener for yours truly. personally believe that this is all down to the importance that Icelandic society places on Novel and the written word. They certainly seem to support and use their libraries more than people in the UK. Nobody in know here in Iceland has ever heard of Kindle...
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2009 edited
    Coming one day soon: digital books with ads in them.

    There's so much specialist information published that a non-specialist library can't hope to keep up. To find catalogues of 16th-century engravings you have to go to an art library. The best a general library can do is provide a large collection for general material and be linked with other libraries for inter-library loan, and provide an atmosphere conducive to browsing, studying and some socializing. If you're in Amsterdam, check out the big library that opened next to Centraal Station a couple of years ago.
  8.  (23.80)
    @ian holloway:

    Thank you for that fantastic link. I've bookmarked it for later but at a glance, those are fantastic spaces! I'll definitely spend some time diving my eyes within them.
    Louis Kahn's Exeter Library, still one of my favorite buildings, is akin to those in spirit...the "secular cathedral" within a modernist language of forms.