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

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

Los Angeles! Come see me at Exposition Park library tonight talking about Big Tech, monopolies, mind control and the right of technological self-determination

From 6PM-730PM tonight (Thursday, May 23), I'm presenting at the Exposition Park Library (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library, 3900 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062) on the problems of Big Tech and how the problems of monopolization (in tech and every other industry) is supercharged by the commercial surveillance industry -- and what we can do about it. It's part of the LA Public Library's "Book to Action" program and it's free to attend -- I hope to see you there! 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

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

Burbank! I'll be at Dark Delicacies today! (then San Diego, UCLA, LA Times Festival of Books)

Next week is my Southern California nonstop Radicalized and advocacy week: I'm starting with a signing at Burbank's Dark Delicacies on Sunday at 4PM, alongside Leslie S. Klinger & Lisa Morton, who are signing their new anthology Ghost Stories: Classic Tales of Horror & Suspense. 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

Libby is my very most favorite app because free books

With the help of my public library, books magically appear on my eReader.

Libby is the app my local library uses to make it's ebook and audiobooks collections easily available to the public. Discovering it has improved my life.

I have long since accepted that paper books are a quaint and funny affectation, like organized religious or dial-up modems, that will someday go away. I have a HUGE collection of physical books but try to limit purchases to books that truly benefit from being in physical form: magic and cooking.

Everything else takes up space.

The bulk of what I read is science fiction and other storytelling. I need a constant stream of stories, or I won't be able to sleep. The Libby app is the first place I check to see if I new book I've heard of is available.

Libby indexes whatever my library, or libraries if you have cards at more than one participating organization, has to offer via the internets. Audiobooks, which are not really my bag, and ebooks are pretty easily searchable by the various criteria you'd expect. If what you desire is immediately available you can read or listen via the Libby app, or send the media to other players. I have Libby connected to my Kindle, and a simple click or two sends books directly to it.

The hold system is a huge surprise benefit, imho!

My library loans books for 21 days and if someone is waiting for the book I feel like a real heel holding on to it. Read the rest

Save the ARC, the largest popular music library in the United States

New York City's ARChive of Contemporary Music (ARC) is a cultural treasure packed with actual treasures. Inside the walls of this not-for-profit private research library in TriBeCa are 3 million physical audio recordings, many on vinyl records. The ARC's founder, Bob George, is also a cultural treasure -- warm, obsessive, kind, committed, and a walking encyclopedia of popular music -- from obscure folk to the avant-garde. In recent years, Bob's been working closely with the Internet Archive to digitize many of the ARC's scarce 78s for broader access and, yes, preservation. Bob launched ARC in 1985 when his own record collection outgrew his apartment. Now the ARC needs help. They've launched a GoFundMe to raise $100,000 to keep the ARC alive. From Rolling Stone:

Far from the kind of crackpot hoarding that sometimes happens in cities, George’s archive has been supported by powerhouses in music and entertainment. It houses Keith Richards’ blues collection. Their current board is varied enough to include both Youssou N’Dour and Paul Simon (Lou Reed and David Bowie were both once members). It consulted for Tom Hanks on the making of That Thing You Do. It’s the go-to repository for album art for everything from Grammy exhibits to Taschen books... George’s commitment is dogged. When Martin Scorsese wanted an obscure Italian song in Goodfellas, George roamed Little Italy humming the tune until someone recognized it (“You can solve every problem in New York if you just walk through it,” he says).

At a time when some in the city were scrubbing Keith Haring murals off subway platforms, George was welcoming every genre, including then-unpopular punk and hip-hop (among the archive’s greatest collection is a trove of punk 45s).

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 EU's plan for algorithmic copyright filters is looking more and more unlikely

After the last-minute collapse of negotiations over the new EU Copyright Directive, things have only gone from bad to worse for the beleaguered (but deadly and far-reaching) internet regulation. Read the rest

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