Countries with longer copyright terms have access to fewer books (pay attention, Canada!)

Rebecca Giblin (previously) writes, "We've just dropped a new study we've been working on for a year. You know how it keeps being claimed that we need longer copyrights because nobody will invest in making works available if they're in the public domain? Heald and some others have done some great work debunking that in the US context, but now we've finally tested this hypothesis in other countries by looking at the relative availability of ebooks to libraries. It's also the first time anyone has been able to compare availability of identical works (by significant authors) across jurisdictions. The books we sampled were all in the public domain in Canada and NZ, all under copyright in Australia, and a mix in the US (courtesy of its historical renewal system)." Read the rest

How fanfic archives lead the world in data organization

Since the earliest days of the "semantic web,", millions of dollars and hours of coding effort have been thrown at the problem of really organizing large corpuses of information, with two approaches emerging: rigid ontologies (like the Dewey Decimal system) that require a system's users to be deeply expert in the structures they're working in; and "folksonomies" (aka hashtags), which allow anyone to tag anything with anything, and leads to fragmentation (like #sign or #signs; or #photos, #pix, and #pictures, etc). Read the rest

Boing Boing presents: Skeleton Boy, a moving short documentary about the life, death and afterlife of Harry Eastlack, star of the Mutter Museum

Philadelphia's Mutter Museum (previously) is one of my favorite museums in the world: built from the private collection of pathologist Dr Thomas Dent (who aggregated the collections of many other pathologists), it is a solemn and moving place to see the incredible breadth of human physiognomy and pathology. Read the rest

10 fascinating online collections at the New York Public Library

We've written extensively about the glories of the New York Public Library, from its talented book-sorters to its circulating collection of neckties and briefcases for job-seekers to the subway cars it turned into virtual ebook libraries to its pioneering work on e-lending platforms to its astounding online collections, which include some of the best-presented public domain resources in the world. Read the rest

Print book reading is surging, just not in research libraries

US booksellers and public libraries are reporting strong growth in demand for print books, but research libraries are increasingly serving as archives, rather than references. Read the rest

To do in Toronto: the Retro Futures exhibit at Metro Reference Library

Toronto's Metro Reference Library is hosting a Retro Futures exhibition until July 28, filled with exhibits from the collection of the Merril Collection (previously), the largest science fiction reference collection in any public library in the world. Read the rest

The Digital Public Library of America has re-released the Mueller Report as a well-formatted ebook instead of a crappy PDF

Back in April, Andrew Albanese from Publishers Weekly wrote a column deploring the abysmal formatting in the DoJ's release of the Mueller Report, and publicly requesting that the Digital Public Library of America produce well-formatted ebook editions, which they have now done! Read the rest

LA! Come see me this Saturday at the Nebula Awards Conference, and next Thursday at Exposition Park Library!

This Saturday, May 18, I'll be appearing at the Nebula Awards Conference, at the Marriott Warner Center in Woodland Hills: I'll be participating in the 1:30PM mass signing in the Grand Ballroom and then I'll be on the "Megatrends for the Near Future" panel at 4PM in A/B Salon. Read the rest

Duke University acquires the archives of Charles N Brown, founder of Locus Magazine

Charlie ("Charles N") Brown was the force behind Locus Magazine (previously) until his death in 2009; he hired me to be a columnist for the magazine in 2006 and I've been writing for them ever since. Read the rest

Talking Radicalized with the LA Public Library: Trump derangement syndrome, engagement algorithms, and novellas as checked luggage

The LA Public Library's Daryl M interviewed me about my new book, Radicalized, specifically, about how my Trump anxiety (created, in part, by the platforms' relentless use of "engagement" tools to nonconsensually eyeball-fuck me with Trump headlines) led to the book's germination, as well as the specific inspirations for each of the four novellas, and the delights of working in novella form. Read the rest

Read the source code for every classic Infocom text-adventure game!

Jason Scott has made the source available for every one of Infocom's classic and genre-defining text adventure games (previously) for the Apple ][+ and its successors, posting it to Github under the historicalsource account. Read the rest

San Diego! I'm keynoting the 40th anniversary of the Friends of the Public Library today (then: UCLA and LA Times Festival of Books)

Tonight (Thursday, April 11), I'm headlining a free event celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Friends of the San Diego Public Library from 7-9PM: it's at the Central Library's Neil Morgan Auditorium (330 Park Blvd., San Diego 92101). The tl;dr of my speech: "libraries as one of the few remnants of a world where people were valued because of their humanity, not their money, and how that works in the current moment of extreme inequality, epistemological incoherence, and fear of imminent collapse." Read the rest

News organizations have all but abandoned their archives

Sharon Ringel and Angela Woodall have published a comprehensive, in-depth look at the state of news archiving in the digital age, working under the auspices of the Tow Center at the Columbia Journalism Review; it's an excellent, well-researched report and paints an alarming picture of the erosion of the institutional memories of news organizations. Read the rest

Socal! I'll be in Burbank on April 7, San Diego on April 11 and UCLA on April 12

I've got a couple of hometown appearances coming up, including a rare west-side event: on Sunday, April 7 at 4PM, I'll be at Burbank's Dark Delicacies for a final signing in their old store before they occupy their new digs around the corner, and then I'm taking off my writer hat and putting on my activist hat to do two more events in the area. Read the rest

The Lunar Library: nano-etched civilizational archives of 30m pages, designed to last for billions of years

The Arch Mission Foundation is nano-etching 30,000,000 pages' worth of "archives of human history and civilization, covering all subjects, cultures, nations, languages, genres, and time periods" onto 25 DVD-sized, 40-micron-thick discs that will be deposited on the surface of the moon in 2019 by the Beresheet lander. Read the rest

The WPA's horseback librarians

During the 1930s, the WPA sponsored horseback librarians -- all women -- to visit rural Americans, bringing them books; the librarians were only allowed to make deliveries in counties that had existing libraries, so schools and other institutions donated materials to establish libraries that would make their counties eligible. Read the rest

Artist Nan Goldin leads protests at the Guggenheim and the Met over their reputation-laundering of the Sacklers' opioid epidemic fortunes

The Sackler family (previously) is one of the richest in the world, and if you've heard of them, it's probably because their family name adorns so many art galleries, museums, and academic institutions around the world: but they way they got that money is less-well-known. Read the rest

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