Monday, October 04, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) No 41: Springer, Reading, Personal Librarians

Book business magazine profiles Springer's success in migrating to e-Journals (BBM):

Journals were early adopters in transitioning to digital, and since have become almost ubiquitously available in electronic formats. By 2009, there were about 25,400 active scholarly peer-reviewed journals, and more than 96 percent were available electronically.

When Springer began offering e-books, the decision was made to follow the journal model. Libraries and patrons had become accustomed to this model, and a chapter in a scientific, technical or medical (STM) book often is viewed much like a journal article. Also, search engines have fundamentally changed the way that research is conducted and made print books largely obsolete for this purpose. Researchers now expect to be able to quickly sift through vast quantities of information at their fingertips. Because of this, Springer e-books and e-journals are searchable on a common platform, providing access to much more high-relevance information than was previously available.

Where e-books are readily available, researchers are increasingly accepting and utilizing them. While Springer saw overall digital downloads increase 33 percent in 2008, e-book chapter downloads rose 70 percent and e-book usage more than doubled between 2007 and 2009.
You are what you read is the suggestion from Boston Globe reporter Natalie Southwick (BG):

Of course, the definition of “interesting’’ is hardly universal. The folks who might want to discuss the “merits’’ of “Atlas Shrugged’’ could be fascinating from a sociological standpoint, but that’s not something I want with my morning coffee. Or ever. But people attracted by the crustacean waving from the cover of “Consider the Lobster,’’ by the late, great David Foster Wallace? That’s the kind of interesting that interests me.

But, as Stein points out, navigating the subtleties of commuter-lit culture is as much about context as familiar names: “The trick is to choose books that have cult followings, and so create a sense of secret fellowship — but that large numbers of your fellow-riders have actually read,’’ he advises. He recommends various authors and books for individual New York subway lines — according to his picks (Roberto BolaƱo’s amazing “2666,’’ and my current T tome, Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow’’ ), I’m a G train girl.While Boston has fewer subway lines, Stein’s point still applies here.

Would Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, “Freedom,’’ appeal as much to the college-age crowd on the Green Line as it might to the professional riders of the Red, or would you have more success opening Charlaine Harris’s latest Sookie Stackhouse novel as you head down Comm. Ave.? Perhaps Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules’’ would be appropriate for the South End-bound foodies of the Silver Line, Jon Krakauer’s “Where Men Win Glory’’ for Orange Line commuters, or a Dennis Lehane novel for the Revere Beach-goers of the Blue. As for the Commuter Rail — shouldn’t you be checking your BlackBerry?

A look at university libraries that are taking the personal approach to students (IHE):

The obligations are not nearly the same as those between academic advisers and advisees; in fact, students are not required to meet with their personal librarian, or even acknowledge them. The important thing for the library is that students know the library has not just books but also familiar-looking people who know their names and want to help them. The idea is that getting that name might make students more likely to schedule a sit-down meeting to learn how to use the library's various interfaces, collections, and specialists. Sit-downs, or even e-mail correspondence, are much more effective than group orientations, says Patricia Tully, the university librarian at Wesleyan.

If personal librarian programs are a trend, the trend is a recent one. Barbara Rockenbach, director of undergraduate and library research at Yale, frames the movement toward “personalization” as a foil to technological forces that have made the library seem more impersonal. With many libraries canceling subscriptions to printed journals, shuttling underused books off to remote storage, and making more of their resources available on the Web, students might increasingly view the library as a database they can use from a solitary dorm room rather than an actual place populated by helpful humans.

The pulping of Franzen's book got a huge amount of press this weekend in the UK. Even my mother asked me if I had heard about it. (Independent)

Review of all many touched by Twilight (Independent):

In an effort to strike a blow for anonymous catalogue models everywhere, Hickey told the New York Post that she is now hoping to audition for a walk-on role in the forthcoming fourth instalment in the Twilight film series. "If I could get a little background part, it would be fantastic... even if they only wanted my hands in it."Her success at exploiting such a tenuous connection with Meyer's first novel goes at least some way towards illustrating the huge commercial power of the Twilight franchise. The first three films in the series were made on budgets of $37, $50 and $68 million respectively, but generated a combined $800m at the box office for the previously-small Los Angeles firm behind them, Summit Entertainment.The vampire-themed romance novels have meanwhile overcome their sniffy critical reception to be translated into 37 languages, selling over 100 million copies, and turning Meyer, a 36-year-old Mormon who lives in a remote corner of Arizona, into a global publishing phenomenon with an annual income which has been estimated by Forbes magazine at over $50m.

From the twitter:

Stephen J. Cannell, Prolific TV Writer, Dies at 69 -

Publishing Houses of Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow: Gene Schwartz' latest blog

Kara Swisher BoomTown AllThingsDExclusive: Chegg Raises $75 Million in Additional Funding from Asian Firm

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