Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ala Moana Beach Park & Diamond Head Honolulu 1975

Ala Moana Beach Park and Diamond Head 1975
A weekly image from my archive. Click on the image to make it larger.

Another beautiful day in paradise and while the skyline has changed considerably Honolulu is still a great town. Just left of center in this photo is the Illikai hotel with its revolving restaurant on top. About five years ago, the hotel had a major renovation and added time shares. One of my ex-colleagues from Bowker owns one. In the distance is Diamond Head (never any diamonds) around which I have run many times although I only lived in Honolulu briefly in the summer 1982. The Honolulu marathon goes around the edges of that going out and coming back. Makes it rather challenging.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PND Technology: Jibe

My weekly (kind of) recap of some of the interesting technology I've heard about at the tech meet-ups I've been going to (NYTech)

JIBE is a site that combines your social network with your job search. The site includes listings from companies (which are paid) allows you in the application process to include specific recommendations from your social network in support of your application. For example, if you are applying to a position at Conde Nast (launch partner) and you have a facebook or linkedin connection at that company you can ask for and attach a specific recommendation or endorsement to travel with your application for the position.

The company has also developed some intelligent software that decodes information from your network on linkedin and facebook so that you can organize your contacts by business and/or business segment. In effect, JIBE creates a set of profiles of your profiles but applicable to work and job seeking.

Check out the video:



Watch live streaming video from nytechmeetup at livestream.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Parallel Universe: Change in Libraries For Publishers

As I mentioned last week I am speaking at the Supply Chain meeting at the Frankfurt bookfair next week. Here is the second part of my draft presentation. (Part one from last week).

The academic library has been forced to re-evaluate their activities for a variety of reasons. If we reference the changes made generally to accommodate a migration from paper to electronic materials, then the impact on monographs is really an anticipated progression of their change programs.

One important change initiative I would characterize as one of “efficiency”. As the thinking goes: “Are we as librarians delivering the appropriate services in the most efficient manner?” Whereas detailed cost analysis have always been possible, economic realities now enable solutions that previously may have been unrealistic for practical or political reasons. The life time costs of maintaining a monograph collection were always known to be expensive but limited alternatives to the open stack paradigm made real analysis irrelevant. With the rapid escalation in digitization programs and a collective approach to resource sharing, libraries now have viable options with respect to down sizing their monograph collections. This now defined expense coupled with the very real costs of real estate and development projects for new buildings has many university administrators salivating over all that “under-utilized” space.

Research conducted by Paul Courant and Mathew Nelson (The Idea of Order) explicitly documents the costs of maintaining a print monograph collection. The opportunity for publishers may rely on turning this analysis of the ‘life time cost’ of holding book into a sales opportunity for eBooks. The authors also calculate that a typical academic library could be spending about $1mm just to maintain their legacy print collection. In an environment where monograph usage is declining this large annual expense begins to look like an onerous and misguided use of funds. What response will publishers get if you ask libraries to – in effect – add to this annual expense by buying more print?

As I noted earlier, the case for a wholesale reevaluation of the idea of books in the library has gained credibility. As strange as it is to say, the physical book collection may not be needed. It may be both economical and efficient to remove them. Constance Malpas from OCLC goes a bit further when she comments that “books have already left the building” – with over 70mm volumes having been removed from local collections and placed in off-site storage. Some important universities have determined that they can operate with little or no diminution of service while reducing their on-site collections. (30% of Columbia’s, 40% of Berkeley’s, 50% of UCLC’s and more than 50% of Harvard’s).

Simply moving books off site, doesn’t represent a total solution. As the authors Courant and Nelson note, electronic storage in addition to or combination with physical collections is most optimal because access to an electronic version of a book aids in selection of the title. If a user is able to look at the toc or index or search the electronic version in advance of requesting the physical book then they are more likely to request from off site storage the books they really need. Large digitization programs such as Hathi Trust and others are beginning to support this type of “mixed platform” hybrid.

The Hathi Trust is one of several digital repositories. At Hathi, their mass-digitized collection is sufficient to replace at least 30% of most academic print book collections. Hathi grows daily and there are other repositories adding titles in a similar manner. All have a different collection profile and different partnerships but at some point these repositories will collaborate and weave together their collections so that the overlap or replacement potential across academic library collections will near 100%.

So what are we seeing here? Initially, I spoke about the cost savings from more efficient use of physical space and transitioned into discussion about shared repositories of content. These activities are closely related and will be progressively augmented and expanded with further network level services. In short, more sophistication will ensue concerning access, applications and services focused on monograph content that historically was disbursed in the extreme volume by volume and library by library.

Strategically, what might these initiatives mean for publishers? Libraries are not saying categorically they don’t want print but they are aggressively placing print content offsite. In some instances new books purchased are going straight to off site storage. In accessing these assets, the library also wants a digital copy that they can place in the catalog for search and discovery. The shared approach to collection management while currently reflective primarily of their retrospective print collections will become the paradigm for future purchases – both print and eBooks. Going forward publishers will be expected to accommodate this. While representing a challenge for both libraries and publishers there may be opportunities in working toward a new business model. Recall, that the combination of the ILL statistics and the Hathi stats on title overlap suggests – strongly – that supply and demand is significantly out of balance. Addressing this is just one opportunity.

This discussion would not be complete without also bringing in the migration to eBooks and eContent. It may be in the transition to an eBook environment where publishers and libraries will clash and it would be a significant mistake for book publishers to assume libraries are ignorant of the issues and complexities of eBook and eContent business models.

In fact, libraries may have a more experienced view of the eContent business models than do many book publishers. Libraries participated in the migration of information databases, print serials and journals to online databases and most importantly facilitated the radical improvements in the provision of serials content. Some see similar and perhaps greater opportunities as monograph make this transition.

But publishers see eBooks in libraries as problematic. There may be more acceptance of eBooks in the academic setting but thus far much less so in the public library segment. A recent report published by Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) suggested that libraries seek to organize a national buying pool to source and negotiate eBook deals. We’ll see how far they get with that.


(Part three to come).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) No 40: Japanese Scanners, French Retailers, Library Vending & Stacks

In Japan scanning for 'personal' use is a service business (Yomiuri Shibum):

A growing business in which companies are digitizing books into e-books for individual customers is drawing the ire of publishers, who say the practice violates the Copyright Law. The companies remove the spines of books and scan the pages one by one for transfer to e-readers, a practice called "jisui," which literally means "cooking one's own meals." Although it is legal for individuals to digitize their books for their own use, some publishing companies maintain it is a violation of the Copyright Law for companies to do so on behalf of individuals. But the companies that provide the service argue they are not digitizing books for commercial use. The Japan Book Publishers Association says individuals can create e-books by digitizing their own books because "reproduction of books for private use" is allowed under the Copyright Law. There are more than 10 companies that take orders for digitizing books, which is labor-intensive and time-consuming. The companies charge from several tens of yen to several hundreds of yen per book. After digitizing a book, the companies return the data to customers on a DVD or via the Internet. Customers then transfer the data to an e-reader. A company in the Tohoku region that started digitizing books in July received orders for 10,000 books in August, and the number is likely to reach 15,000 in September, it said. "[The operation of this business] might be in a gray zone in terms of copyright violation," the company said. "But we think there's no problem regarding copyrights as we just do this on behalf of individuals." An official of the Japan Book Publishers Association said the association plans to take decisive measures, such as issuing a warning against such businesses. "Any reproduction other than copying books for private use is illegal," the official said.

France looks to protect its small book retailers from eBook sales (WSJ):
In France a 1981 law prohibits the sale of books for less than 5% below the cover price, a move to protect independent booksellers from the narrow profit margins that big chains could absorb if they discounted books heavily. But e-books, not covered by the 1981 law because it refers to "printed volumes," typically sell for 25% less than printed works. Now France is considering how best to stop big Internet retailers, such as Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc., from hurting smaller bookstores and publishers with heavily discounted offers on e-books. Sen. Jacques Legendre this month proposed a law that would allow publishers to set the retail price of e-books. View Full Image Reuters Lawmaker Hervé Gaymard In France, a publisher typically offers bookstores a profit margin of between 30% and 40% depending on, say, the size of a bookstore and its sales record. If, for example, a publisher lists a retail price of $10 for a book, it is sold to the bookstore at $6 to $7.
Library vending machine (FL Today)

Library staff members keep the machine stocked with a revolving collection of new-release DVDs and books, about 125 items, both for adults and children. Books are hardback and paperback.All library patrons, no matter where they live in Brevard County, can use the machine.It cost $16,000 and was made possible by a donation from Friends of the Central Brevard Library and Reference Center.
The Augusta Chronicle notes some data from the OCLC report How Libraries Stack Up:

DVD rentals have become one of the fastest-growing collections among libraries nationally, with lending outpacing the Redbox-style kiosks and Netflix subscriptions. A survey from the Online Computer Library Center, a national library cooperative nonprofit organization, found that public branches lend 2.1 million DVDs a day, trumping 2 million DVDs rented by Netflix and 1.4 million by Redbox. The daily averages were provided by company representatives for the OCLC's How Libraries Stack Up report, which highlights libraries' roles in communities. "It's part of (our) mission to educate as well as entertain," said Sherryl Jones, an East Central Georgia Library System community service librarian. "Once someone finds something they like, they're in here often. It's especially busy on Thursday and Friday." Last month the system, which includes Richmond and Columbia counties, circulated 23,000 DVDs. The number is expected to increase as the Augusta Library settles into its new location.

Certainly one of my all time favorite authors Barbara Taylor Bradford is profiled in The Independent:
It is classic BTB: glamorous people in glamorous places doing glamorous things; but beneath the surface hide grubby secrets that threaten to bring their whole world crashing down.

Annette is, says her creator, "still a strong woman and independent, but stuck in a terrible situation". The situation is that, at 18, she married the rich Marius Remmington, 20 years her senior and a would-be Svengali to her Trilby. "He tries to control her, but because she is a Barbara Taylor Bradford woman, she's fought and resisted this total control," she adds with the pride of a mother describing a daughter. Annette is the latest in a long line of feisty heroines, beginning with Emma Harte in A Woman of Substance, who combine the looks of an Angelina Jolie and the business acumen of a Deborah Meaden.

Taylor Bradford loves these women and their stories, referencing them like family throughout the time we have together. As strong women are her forte, I wonder how she feels about the domestic drudges who inhabit much contemporary women's fiction these days? " I'm not interested," she says dismissing them like flies with a flick of her hand. "I know people say I write about women who are rich, but that is not really true. I write about women who become successful."

From the twitter this week (@personanondata)

Borders Group Cancels New York Superstore Plans in Quest to End Losses Bloomberg

The human pillars of a blockbuster INdependent About Ken Follett.

A Claim of Pro-Islam Bias in Textbooks in Texas NYT

Ingram rethinks the distribution model Ingram


Friday, September 24, 2010

Re-post: Massive Data Sets

Originally posted June 24th, 2008

Large publishers like Elsevier, Macmillan and Kluwer spent the past 20-30 years or so consolidating journal publishing under their umbrellas and building virtually unassailable positions in numerous vertical publishing segments. The open access movement has had only minimal impact on the prospects for these businesses and there is little indication even market forces will reduce their commanding positions. Much of the consolidation has occurred but occasionally, some large concentration of journals comes on the market however, it is unlikely that a new publisher would be able to build a significant position in any meaningful segment because all the important titles already belong to one of the major players.

Journals publish the outcome of the intellectual activity of the article authors. In some cases, access is provided to the data that serves to back up the investigation but invariably this data remains in the dark. Some publishers have experimented with allowing journal readers to play with the data but this does not appear to be a developing trend. Data's day may come however. Several months ago (via Brantley) I read of yet another initiative at Google.
Sources at Google have disclosed that the humble domain, http://research.google.com/, will soon provide a home for terabytes of open-source scientific datasets. The storage will be free to scientists and access to the data will be free for all. The project, known as Palimpsest and first previewed to the scientific community at the Science Foo camp at the Googleplex last August, missed its original launch date this week, but will debut soon.
The article on their web site is brief and my immediate thoughts had little to do with the gist of this story. My immediate thought was that here could develop the next land grab for publishers and perhaps other parties interested in gaining access to the raw data supporting all types of research. As publishers develop platforms supporting their publishing and (n0w) service offers will they see maintaining these data sets as integral to that policy? I believe so, and I suspect in agreements with authors, institutions and associations that own these journals the publishers like Elsevier will also require the 'deposit' of the raw data supporting each article. In return, the offerings on the publisher's 'platform' would enable analysis, synthesis and data storage all of benefit to their authors. But the story may be more comprehensive than simply rounding out their existing titles with more data.

The current power publishers in the journal segment may find themselves competing with new players including Google in thier efforts to gain access to data sets that may have been historically supplemental or even not considered relevant to research. In addition, sources of massive data sets are growing with the introduction of every new consumer product and exponential web traffic growth. In the NYTimes today is an article about a number of new companies that are analyzing massive amounts of data to produce market reports and business analysis. From the article:
Just this month, the journal Nature published a paper that looked at cellphone data from 100,000 people in an unnamed European country over six months and found that most follow very predictable routines. Knowing those routines means that you can set probabilities for them, and track how they change. It’s hard to make sense of such data, but Sense Networks, a software analytics company in New York, earlier this month released Macrosense, a tool that aims to do just that. Macrosense applies complex statistical algorithms to sift through the growing heaps of data about location and to make predictions or recommendations on various questions — where a company should put its next store, for example. Gregory Skibiski, 34, the chief executive and a co-founder of Sense, says the company has been testing its software with a major retailer, a major financial services firm and a large hedge fund.
As noted in the article, the data (growing rapidly to massive status) has been hard to manipulate but this issue is diminishing rapidly. As it diminishes we will see more and more companies, groups and even individuals note the value of their data and begin to negotiate the access to this data. All of the large information publishers will see themselves playing a significant role in this market as they gather data sets around market segments just as they did with journals. If they don't do this they could undercut the value of their journal collections if they are forced to separate the result/analysis from the data. Signing agreements for access to these data sets (cell phone data in the example above) will enable Journal publishers to concentrate research even further by making access to this information a pre-condition to publication in the respective journal. Either way, the providers of these data sets are likely to be looking at a new and significant revenue source.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

USS Whipple (FF-1062): Hong Kong 1972

USS Whipple (FF-1062) Hong Kong 1972
A weekly image from my archive. Click on the image to make it larger.
From June 1972 the USS Whipple and the USS Lexington in Hong Kong harbor. It was pretty easy to identify these ships but in doing so what was also interesting was that on Wikipedia there is a deep description of the Whipple's activities during this period (less so the Lexington CV-16 which at the time was a training ship):

After a brief period planeguarding on "Dixie" and "Yankee" stations for Hancock, Whipple received a needed upkeep at Danang from 3 to 10 May while Piedmont (AD-17) replaced the escort's 5-inch (127 mm) gun. She then returned to "Yankee" Station where she once more operated with Hancock, conducting escort and plane-guarding operations through June. Following availability at Subic Bay and a visit to Hong Kong, Whipple returned to the line and provided gunfire support in the vicinity of Point "Claudia" for the Republic of Vietnam's 1st and 3d Divisions. From 17 to 25 June, she fired harassment and interdiction missions at night and made runs during daylight hours in which she was aided by OV-1 Mohawks which pinpointed enemy bunker complexes, rocket sites, and supply routes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Paul McCartney in the Cloud.

Paul McCartney once wrote about having his head in the clouds but reality is stranger than fiction and his management company just announced a deal with Hewlett Packard that calls for HP to build a private cloud that will digitize and deliver his expansive library of content and memorabilia.

From the press release:

McCartney has one of the most comprehensive libraries of any artist, much of which has never been viewed before. His library includes images, artwork, paintings, film and videos, as well as masters of some of the most popular songs ever written. Additionally, during his successful career, he has accumulated iconic imagery, including the cover artwork for the multimillion selling No. 1 album, "Band on the Run."

Under the agreement, HP will work closely with MPL to digitize the material and design and build a state-of-the-art content management system. McCartney's library will then be delivered through a private cloud environment. Portions of the library will be made available to fans so they can have a personal and unparalleled glimpse into McCartney's work.

"I've always been interested in creative ideas and new ways of reaching people, so this is a really exciting initiative for me," said McCartney. "I hope it will allow people who might be interested to access parts of our archives they might otherwise not be able to. I'm looking forward to working with HP on this project."

The agreement marks the first time that HP has collaborated with an artist in this way. In addition to changing how fans and artists will interact, the digitization of McCartney's library will help preserve the history of one of the world's most loved artists for future generations.

"Paul McCartney has always been a trendsetter in the music industry and HP has been at the forefront of technology innovation," said Tom Hogan, executive vice president, Sales, Marketing and Strategy, Enterprise Business, HP. "We are proud that he turned to HP as a trusted partner to help him preserve his legacy and set a new vision for the industry."

Could this be a trend?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Parallel Universe

I am speaking in two weeks at the annual supply chain meeting at the Frankfurt bookfair. The following is a draft of the first part of my presentation.


There’s a lot going on in the library world of books, serials and eContent. Just like every business connected to the publishing industry today, libraries are experiencing change and dealing with complexity to an extent that most publishers neither understand nor appreciate. As the relationship between book publishers and libraries changes – and it is - both sides would be well advised to understand more about the circumstances and experiences of the other.

We always associate books with libraries yet, books have not been the pillars that support the library mission for many decades. Based on some of the data I will share with you, some might even argue that books are not a success story in the library environment. Perhaps an odd observation but actual data and experience suggests that as a group they are expensive to manage, under-utilized, hard to navigate and of declining importance to scholarship. There is also the element of ‘lost opportunity’ in that decisions to purchase specific books are rarely optimized with demand and so books that will have supported a need or demand are not purchased and books that were purchased more often than not sit on shelves rarely used.

I believe our collective challenge will be to not replicate the limited publisher/library model of decades past but to build a better model. We need to think differently about the monograph.

Despite remaining critically important to many communities, the public library in the US is under constant threat. If not from actual dwindling revenue sources which have universally caused layoffs, closings and reduced services, then from the passive aggressive stance of publishers who propose not to make electronic versions of their books available to library patrons.

This bleak outlook obscures the fact that academic libraries and some larger public libraries are embarked on a radical redesign and reevaluation of their activities which will impact all libraries in the short term. Many of these changes are almost completely hidden to publishers. That is not to say that the same couldn't be said of the library community about the circumstances and strategic questions facing book publishing companies as they make their transition from print to electronic.

Regrettably, at a critical juncture in the transformation of the relationship between publishing and libraries neither side seems to know or appreciate enough about the circumstances of other. This should be troubling to all those – like me - who believe libraries and publishers should share a desire to expand knowledge and community around books.

I see an unavoidable situation developing where sharp disagreement over the provision of eContent will fracture the historically uneasy alliance between book publishers and libraries as more content migrates to electronic form and consumers make electronic delivery their format of choice.

My comments take the library perspective and I would like to examine three areas. Firstly, an overview of where libraries are today. Secondly, a look at some of the most important strategic library initiatives under way and thirdly, some thoughts on the way forward for libraries and publishers.

The primary focus of this presentation will be on the academic library environment; however, let me make some brief notes about the situation with public libraries in the US. I do this because I will include public libraries in my concluding comments. The purpose and mission of public versus academic libraries are similar but the execution of their goals is often quite different.

Many of us are familiar with the steady stream of headlines regarding closures and layoffs. In the US and in some cases Europe, public libraries are facing the immediate threat of reduced funding as well as the more strategic question about their role in the fabric of their community. Hard economic times are the precise reason why public library use in the US is trending up.

Academic libraries are not immune to macro economic changes either; although seem to have more flexibility to devise new methods of dealing with some of the economic challenges they face.

For example, can you envision an academic library remodeling its space that results in the permanent removal of all its books? That sounds absurd – even crazy - yet during a recent renovation Ohio State removed all their books from the library and placed them in off site storage. Service for students and faculty was impacted only minimally and once the space was remodeled not all the books returned. Books in the Ohio State library now look more like display items than accessible resources. NYU removed 30% of their collection during a similar renovation. A library at the University of Texas recently gained a lot of attention as a new library without any “books”.

There are more and more examples and what it strongly suggests is that academic library’s physical monograph collections may be more likely to be found today in a warehouse than on a library shelf.

More to follow from my presentation next week.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Media Week (Vo 3) No 39: iPad, Bookless Library, Nick Hornby, Sex Pistols

The Economist on how the iPad is transforming media firms while at the same time frustrating them:

The iPad’s effect on media firms extends well beyond its screen. The device contains a web browser as well as an app store, bringing together the world of paid content and the open web, where print content tends to be free. It is as though a news-stand carried two versions of every magazine—one costly, the other inferior but free. Media firms that were already coming to believe that the web is a mediocre advertising platform have drawn a stark conclusion: they should pull back from the free web. Time magazine has begun to hold back some stories from its website, on the ground that it is now providing a decent digital alternative.

Time Inc is moving towards all-access pricing, in which content is available on all platforms to people who pay for it. This is in line with the “TV Everywhere” plan developed by Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner’s chief executive. Others are likely to follow. James Moroney, publisher of the Dallas Morning News, says the release of a paid iPad application later this year is likely to coincide with the erection of a paywall on the Dallas.com website. It is illogical to charge for one but not the other, he says.

Nick Hornby and Ben Folds have joined in an unlikely combination to release an album. News about a combo book idea are thus far unconfirmed. (Observer):

It's not a musical act that's going to have Simon Cowell quaking in his boots, but then this isn't the collaboration they're about to launch on the charts. Next week the pair release their joint album, Lonely Avenue, for which Folds – the platinum-selling frontman of 90s indie-rock outfit Ben Folds Five – provides the music and Hornby has written the lyrics (disappointingly he's not evident on backing vocals, despite the fact that Folds tells me his partner has "quite a nice voice").

The resultant collection of wry, tender songs tackles subjects as eclectic as divorce, attack dogs, infatuation and, perhaps most unexpectedly, Sarah Palin's almost-son-in-law Levi Johnston. Each track is a mini-narrative: there's the middle-class man trying in vain to empathise with his trailer-trash neighbour ("Your Dogs"); there's the ageing one-hit wonder whose sole success ("Belinda") inadvertently lost him his wife. And while the music is shot through with the pair's downbeat humour, it's also unashamedly melancholic – this is music for the generation that has seen it all, done most of it and is now sitting in the kitchen with a half-empty bottle, wondering what it all meant.

According to Robert McCrum in the Observer the 'dark threat of digitization' is being underestimated (Observer):
Sometimes the cultural analyst who puts himself in the middle of the information superhighway ends up looking like Bugs Bunny in the path of a runaway Mack truck.
Maybe you'll agree with me after reading the short article that that sentence reads better as a suggestion.

Rafat Ali who started PaidContent is looking for new opportunities and is thinking hard about the travel segment (Poynter):
Poynter: Can you tell me more about your intentions with mobile and things you want to do?

Ali: It's obvious that the scope for reinvention of the guidebook is on the mobile platform. Clearly, online there are too many sources of information. Most people start their research on Google.

So how do you as a startup or an established brand rise above the noise? I think on the mobile platform that becomes slightly more clear, because by the time you've reached the mobile platform, you've already done pre-research of where you want to go.

At a destination ... you need a guide, whether that's a printed guide or a mobile guide. Just making an e-book out of a guidebook is not enough. Some of the guide companies have done that. That's not even taking advantage of the medium, which is a live medium. Mobile is a connected medium, so there a lot of things that you can do. And that's what I'm trying to figure out.
Nothing's sacred: Sex Pistols gamble with debut ad soundtrack (BrandRepublic). Admittedly, I did miss the perfume story which may be even more of a sell out. Really, what a load of bollocks.

A theme I am working on for an upcoming speech: The bookless library (IHE)

Some libraries, such as the main one at the University of California at Merced, and the engineering library at Stanford University, have drastically reduced the number of print volumes they keep in the actual library building, choosing to focus on beefing up their electronic resources. In fact, some overenthusiastic headline writers at one point dubbed Stanford’s library “bookless.” But that is “a vision statement, not a point of fact,” says Andrew Herkovic, the director of communications for Stanford’s libraries.

San Antonio says it now has the first actual bookless library. Students who stretch out in the library’s ample study spaces — which dominate the floor plan of the new building — and log on to its resource network using their laptops or the library’s 10 public computers will be able to access 425,000 e-books and 18,000 electronic journal articles. Librarians will have offices there and will be available for consultations.

Students used to get their engineering and technology books from a collection at the campus’s main library. That collection is still there, and books from it are available upon request. But at the new library dedicated to that specialty, the only dead trees are in the beams and furniture.

The fact that San Antonio has actually built a literal version of what many in the industry hold up as symbol of the inevitability of electronic as the prevailing medium in academe may be commendable, but it is not “earth-moving,” says Roger Schonfeld, the managing director of Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit that promotes innovation in libraries and elsewhere. Many libraries, especially science and engineering ones, have started moving their print volumes out of the building and into remote storage.

From the twitter:

What's the secret of Secret Daughter. Globe&Mail Publishers still have no idea.Keep guessing.An industry like no other

UK weekly Books And Media Direct: Emma Donoghue is still favorite for the Booker on social networks Books&Media

Prisa Studies IPO For Santillana - WSJ Message to Pearson: Make up your mind?

ACRL Report Offers Guidance for Measuring Value of Academic Libraries ACRL

Thomson Reuters to launch next generation desktop Reuters "Twitter-like social media functions" for financial prof'ls

PND Mascot still not home
and still recuperating at the Vet. Scottish stoicism in play. No date on return home though. Image

In sport, three goal Berbatov. Magnificent. (BBC)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Repost: 'Qualified Metadata' - What Does it All Mean?

Originally posted on 2/22/2007, I was speaking to someone this afternoon about this topic and it reminded me a little of this post.


Earlier this month I spoke about how data providers may be able to carve a place for themselves as the single provider of catalog information for particular industries. This data, representing 'base level' descriptive information (in the book world we call it bibliographic data) would be widely disseminated across the Internet to facilitate trade of products, materials and services and would be provided by one data supplier. Other data suppliers - one layer up if you will - would also make use of this base level information but add to it value added data elements which would be particularly important to segments of the supply chain. The most obvious example in books would be subject and categorization data which aids in discovery of the item described. Another set of data elements could reflect more descriptive information about a publisher over and above basic address and contact details. In the second of my series, I take a look at the library environment.

In a recent article in D-Lib (January 07), Karen Markey of the University of Michigan looks at how the library online catalog experience needs to change in order for users to receive more relevant and authoritative sources of information to support their research needs. She goes on to quote Deanna Marcum of Library of Congress "the detailed attention that we have paid to descriptive cataloguing may no longer be justified...retooled catalogers could give more time to authority control, subject analysis, [and] resource identification and evaluation." Markey proposes redesigning the library catalog to embrace three things:
  1. post-Boolean probabilistic searching to ensure the precision in online catalogs that contain full-text
  2. subject cataloguing that takes advantage of a users ability to recognize what they do and don't want
  3. qualification cataloguing to enable users to customize retrieval based on level of understanding or expertise
New search technologies such as MarkLogic, FAST and the search tool behind Worldcat offer some of these capabilities but are generally not accessible to the average user. For example, some of these tools enable flexibility in the relevant importance given to elements within a record; so manipulating the importance of Audience level in a WorldCat search would 'skew' the search result set to higher or lower comprehension titles based on the bias given to one or the other.

Perhaps the most compelling point Markey raises in her article supporting increased attention to "qualification metadata" is the 30 to 1 'rule'.
The evidence pertains to the 30-to-1 ratios that characterize access to stores of information (Dolby and Resnikoff, 1971). With respect to books, titles and subject headings are 1/30 the length of a table of contents, tables of contents are 1/30 the length of a back-of-the-book index, and the back-of-the-book index is 1/30 the length of a text. Similar 30 to 1 ratios are reported for the journal article, card catalog, and college class. "The persistence of these ratios suggests that they represent the end result of a shaking down process, in which, through experience, people became most comfortable when access to information is staged in 30-to-1 ratios" (Bates, 2003, 27). Recognizing the implications of the 30-to-1 rule, Atherton 1978) demonstrated the usefulness of an online catalog that filled the two 30-to-1 gaps between subject headings and full-length texts with tables of contents and
back-of-the-book indexes.
Once I read this it was obvious to me that we may not have thought through the implications of projects such as Google Print on retrieval. These initiatives will result in huge (big, big, big) increases in the amount of stuff researchers and students will have to wade through to find items that are even remotely relevant to what they are looking for. In the case of students, unless appropriate tools and descriptive data is made available we will only compound the 'its good enough' mentality and they will never see anything but Google Search as useful.

Markey's article is worth a read if you are interested in this type of stuff, but I think her view point is a starting point for any bibliographic agency or catalog operation in defining their strategy for the next ten years. Most bibliographers understand that base level data is a commodity. The only value a provider can supply here is consistency and one-stop shopping and the barriers to entry are lowered every day. I am of the view (see my first article on this subject) that the agency that can demonstrably deliver consistent data should do so as a loss leader in order to corner the market on base level data and then generate a (closed) market for value added and descriptive (qualification) metadata. There are indications that markets may be heading in this direction (Global Data Synchronization - which I will address next) with incumbent data providers reluctantly following.

Providing relevancy in search is a holy grail of sorts and descriptive data is key to this. In the library environment if the current level of resources were reallocated to building the deeper bibliographic information we need then the traffic in and out of library catalogs would be tremendous. If no one steps in to provide this needed descriptive data then the continuing explosion of resources would be irrelevant because no-one would be directed to the most relevant stuff. Serendipity would rule. The data would also prove valuable and important to the search providers (Google, etc.) because they also want to provide relevance; having libraries and the library community execute on this task would be somewhat ironic given the current decline in use of the online library catalog.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Twin Beams of Light: Manhattan

Twin Beams of Light, September 2010
A weekly image from my archive. Click on the image to make it larger.

Taken around 8:30 on 9/11/2010 from Hoboken.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PND Technology: Apture

My weekly (kind of) recap of some of the interesting technology I've heard about at the tech meet-ups I've been going to (NYTech)

Apture is a great application that enables a publisher to offer a more in-depth experience to readers and browsers of their web site without them leaving the page. For the publisher a simple line of code added to their site gives 'look-up' capability to any highlighted segment of content on their page. One neat thing about the Apture application is that it can 'look-forward' and return the more detailed and deeper material (again in a pop-up window not by taking the user somewhere else) in an appropriate to the content manner. For example, if a reader highlights a photo link the pop up can produce a photo image viewer that is optimized for the content and the appropriate usage. (Best shown in the plug-in).

In allowing the user to access instantaneously more information, the Apture application provides a far more engaging experience for the user. Another aspect of the technology, is that each successive pop-up can be searched in a 'Russian doll effect'. So in the example on the live demo, if the user looks up information about Alfred Hitchcock and in the pop-up there is more information they want to search - including content such as photos, music and videos - they can do this sequentially. All without leaving the original website.

For a publisher implementing the technology, they can also 'manage' how the deeper information is displayed in each pop-up. For example, a publisher may want to highlight their own content they may have that is relevant to the search and they can present their links or content first. This can drive additional page views for the publisher which for usage statistics and for advertising could be important. The company says users will stay on a site 2-3x longer when this technology is implemented.

Each pop-up does not replace the earlier one and so the user can always see where they came from and navigate easily backwards and search other interesting links in earlier windows. The user can also re-size at will depending on their preference and there is an example of how that functionality is appropriate for maps and street view for example.

Apture is being used by the Financial Times, Thomson Reuters, NY Times, ReadWriteWeb, The Nation. The company also launched a browser plug-in which they claim will change the way you search the web. I'm playing with it now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Houghton Mifflin Announces Innovation Fund

In a press release today Houghton Mifflin Harcourt annouced the creation of a $100mm innovation fund which the company will use to "promote and enhance student achievement, individualized learning and effective technology integration in the classroom." Some other large publishing companies have well known innovation or investment funds so this is nothing revolutionary or new in the publishing business but represents an important strategic move for HMH.

The HMH Innovation Fund will promote and support solutions aimed at engaging all education stakeholder groups — including teachers, administrators, parents and students — by creating a process for soliciting, evaluating, developing and executing innovative ideas that solve teaching and learning challenges. The process will be uniquely collaborative, encouraging input and participation from across the education and technology industries. The Fund will also look to support new consumer applications including gaming platforms and other interactive solutions to engage students outside the classroom.

“The HMH Innovation Fund is a first for our industry, providing the capital to identify and incubate the next generation of innovation in education. We are excited about the opportunity to share in developing new solutions for teachers, students, administrators and parents,” said Barry O’Callaghan, CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “HMH will work with, partner and fund the innovators of today and support great ideas that will have an immediate impact in promoting greater student achievement with tools that can be used both inside and outside the classroom.”

HMH has seen its fair share of problems over the past three years with a major restructuring of the company's balance sheet at the end of last year. The core operations of each business have reputedly been doing well even in the tough economic climate. This news, coupled with the news that the company is also investing $300million to develop innovation centers in the US and Ireland, will come as welcome news to those left bewildered by the company's recent financial problems.
The Innovation teams at HMH work closely with third parties including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), foundations and academia, and have already started rolling out an array of new solutions including:
  • A one-year pilot program in four California school districts of the first ever full-curriculum Algebra application on the Apple iPad. More than 400 California eighth-grade students will receive instruction strictly via an iPad loaded with Holt Algebra 1 course materials including highly developed comprehension tracking tools, which provide students with customized online remediation based on quiz and test scores, and simultaneously provide teachers with student-specific performance feedback. Assessment data will be immediately available to the teacher for constant tracking and in-class remediation.
  • A new all-digital language arts program in Texas for grades 2–12 called Texas Write Source, which helps students of every learning style master key writing forms and processes and grammar usage through whole-class interactive whiteboards, an online worktext and space that enables students to share personalized essays, and the ability to download video podcasts, audio-enabled interactive mini-lessons, games and trackable quizzes.

“We have a well-established and open incubation strategy for new ideas, partners and start ups that is different than anything that exists within the traditional publishing business,” said Fiona O’Carroll, Executive Vice President of New Ventures. “We have created an environment and a structure to foster and support incubation of new ideas and we feel we can be the partner of choice for big ideas due to our overall scale, market reach, positional advantage and speed in bringing things to market. This is a true incubation model.”

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) No 37: Bookless Library, Color E-Readers, More Swedish Detecting, Lost Television, IPad Test in Schools

A bookless library opens in Texas (USTA):

Electronic research is central to the AET Library. Instead of storing printed volumes, the library offers students a rapidly growing collection of electronic resources including 425,000 e-books and 18,000 e-journal subscriptions. Skilled science and engineering librarians are available during library hours to help students who need research assistance.

UTSA's electronic library is catching on quickly with students, who are finding that the library staff is more available to assist them now that they don't have to circulate and reshelf books. Publications that students want to read also are more accessible because the online format allows many students to simultaneously access the same volume.

The trend to move higher education library collections online began in October 2000, when Kansas State University opened the Fiedler Engineering Library. The branch library's collection is completely electronic with the exception of a series of reference books and a few journals that are unavailable electronically. Earlier this year, Stanford University continued the trend when it removed all but 10,000 printed volumes from its Engineering Library.

New color eBook readers are on their way (NYTimes):

Major e-reader companies like Amazon.com, which sells the Kindle, and Barnes & Noble, seller of the Nook, have not announced that they are offering color versions, or that they are committed to a specific technology for doing so. But some smaller entrants in the market have said they will be using liquid crystal displays, just as the iPad does. The Literati by the Sharper Image, for example, has a a full-color LCD and will go on sale in October, priced at about $159. And Pandigital has said that the Novel, its full-color e-reader with an LCD touch screen, will be at retailers this month at a suggested price of about $200.

But LCD displays have disadvantages, Mr. Semenza said. They consume a lot of power, he said, because they need backlighting and because much optical energy is lost as light passes through the polarizers, filters and crystals needed to create color. They are also hard to read outdoors, he added.

Other types of displays may also find a foothold with consumers — particularly low-power, reflective technologies that take advantage of ambient light and are easy to read when outside.

The EInk Corporation in Cambridge, Mass., uses this reflective technology for its present product — the black-and-white displays in the Kindle, Nook and other e-readers — and will soon introduce a color version of the technology, said Siram Peruvemba, E Ink’s vice president for global sales and marketing. The technology will probably first be used for textbook illustrations and for cartoons.

The Observer really likes those Swedish detective novels. Here's number xx in a series of articles (Guardian):

Mankell has always regarded himself as a gloomy man in any case. Married to Eva Bergman, daughter of the great Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, he has spoken of watching films in the brooding company of his late father-in-law "We would have long nights talking to each other and, while he didn't laugh that much, he did once say that we were the 'Swedish brothers of gloom'. That made us both smile," he said. Mankell's most recent novel, The Man From Beijing, has received mixed reviews in Britain. His protagonist, Judge Birgitta Roslin, has been criticised for being a Wallander derivative.

For all those addicts of the taciturn police procedural, played out against a backdrop of lonely marshes, empty beaches and sinister summer cabins, the future is not so grim. A wide range of other writers is waiting to be discovered up there in the cold north.

Try the 36-year-old Camilla Läckberg, Swedish author of The Ice Princess, who has a new book out. Or Karin Fossum, the Norwegian "Queen of Crime" who writes about Inspector Konrad Sejer. Failing that, there are Ake Edwardson, Karin Alvtegen, Håkan Nesser, Asa Larsson or Johan Theorin. And to prove beyond doubt that Scandinavia is now the promised land, the bestselling American crime author James Patterson has figuratively moved in. Patterson has written The Postcard Killers in collaboration with the seasoned Swedish writer Liza Marklund. Together they have created two sleuths, a rogue American policeman, based on Marklund in personality and style, and a Swedish reporter who is closer to Patterson.

Found: Golden age of British Television at the Library of Congress (Observer):

The extraordinary cache of televised plays – described by experts as "an embarrassment of riches" – features performances from a cavalcade of postwar British stars. The list includes John Gielgud, Sean Connery, Gemma Jones, Dorothy Tutin, Robert Stephens, Susannah York, John Le Mesurier, Peggy Ashcroft, Patrick Troughton, David Hemmings, Leonard Rossiter, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith and Jane Asher.

The tapes have been unearthed in the Library of Congress in Washington DC.After months of negotiation, the library and the New York-based public service television station WNET have agreed to allow the British Film Institute in London to showcase the highlights in November, an occasion that is certain to generate intense nostalgia for what many critics maintain was the golden age of television.

A hint of what is to come appears in the joint BFI and National Film Theatre guide for November, which refers to the forthcoming "Missing Believed Wiped" event and mentions the discovery of hundreds of hours of British TV drama. The tapes are understood to have been sent out to WNET for broadcast and later stored in the TV station's collection inside the Library of Congress, where they were recently catalogued with British assistance.

News reporter Kay Burley's book is to be edited again but not without some PR thrown in (Telegraph):

Among the details removed is the description of Simpson as "titian-haired" and "flame-haired," both phrases regularly used to describe a prominent former supporter of Blair. The character of McGovern, meanwhile, is said to be not dissimilar to Gloria De Piero, the glamorous Labour MP and former political correspondent for GMTV.

A publishing source says the legal team were particularly concerned about Burley's depiction of her fictional prime minister's affairs with the women in the book.

Blair's attitude towards extra-marital relationships has come under the spotlight after the publication of his memoirs, in which he implied that for a politician to have an affair is like being able to escape to a "remote desert island of pleasure". Burley, who recently split up with George Pascoe-Watson, a former political journalist, also appears to have written a thinly veiled version of the relationship between Blair and Alastair Campbell in her portrayal of Jenson and his spin-doctor, Ben Watson.

No doubt Blair also assumes the island has its own Catholic church for recompense?

Fresno schools are testing the iPAd with the help of Houghton Mifflin (FresnoBee):

Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the education publishing company that created the program, is working with Apple -- the iPad's manufacturer -- and is subsidizing the pilot program. The students will get iPads in the next few days and will be allowed to take the portable computers home.

John Sipe, vice president of K-12 sales for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, said the iPad app essentially replaces the 800-page algebra book that students would normally use.The program is designed so students can use it for homework, note-taking, quizzes and possibly testing. The app includes tutorial videos that can help students at home and automatically lets teachers know how students are progressing. But Sipe said just how much students will use the new technology will be up to each individual district, and some districts may opt to continue using textbooks to supplement digital lessons.

Students will be allowed to use the iPads for other uses, such as surfing the Web.Company officials believe the algebra app will lead to improved test scores and increased student interest, Sipe said.

Fresno was selected partly based on the recommendation of education officials in Sacramento because of its involvement in the state's Race to the Top application for federal education funds, Sipe said. California did not win the funds, but the state application demonstrated a willingness to use digital textbooks.

From the Twitter:

Announcing Identification of E-Books Research Project: In the interview stage so get in touch if you would like to pa…BISG

Albany's library revival a story to embrace Times Union

Elsevier’s SciVerse Hub--Transforming Scientific Research Info-Today Surprise to be quoted.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Announcing Identification of E-Books Research Project

From BISG:
As some of you are aware, in May 2010 the Identification of E-Books Working Group of BISG's Identification Committee began a systematic review of the International ISBN Agency recommendations for the identification of e-books and digital content.

The Working Group identified several areas in which detailed definitions and a formal examination of the issues would lead to a better perspective on the International ISBN Agency's position and, perhaps, help inform a more data-driven recommendation from the U.S. market to the International ISBN Agency.

To that end, BISG's Identification of E-Books Working Group has contracted with Michael Cairns of the firm Information Media Partners to conduct an objective, research-based study that describes, defines and makes recommendations for the identification of e-books in the U.S. supply chain.

In the coming weeks and months (through October 2010), Michael will conduct a series of fact-finding interviews and information requests to support a set of recommendations that will be reviewed by the Working Group during the first quarter of 2011. Ultimately, these recommendations will form the basis for further discussions with the International ISBN Agency over policies and procedures with respect to e-books and digital content.

Michael will be directly contacting many BISG members and non-members to seek input and participation in the interview and fact finding process. We hope should you be someone Michael reaches out to that you will offer your full cooperation in this project.

Please feel free to contact Michael Cairns directly via email if you would like to participate or, alternatively, Angela Bole who will be in regular contact with Michael as the project moves forward.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Evonne Goolagong US Open 1972

Evonne Goolagong, US Open 1972
A weekly image from my archive. Click on the image to make it larger.
Since it is US Open Week: Evonne Goolagong Cawley at the 1972 US Open Championships at Flushing Meadow. Goolagong later lost to Teeguarden in the 3rd Round. There are some additional photos on my flickr page of her and many other great players. (Here)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Beyond the Book: Peter Brantley Interviewed

From Copyright Clearence center's beyond the book series an interview with Peter Brantley of the Internet Archive and Open Book Alliance (Podcast):
“I wouldn’t say I’m concerned about the future of authors,” Peter Brantley tells Chris Kenneally, “but I think that authors have something to be concerned about as we move into a digital future.”

The director of the Internet Archive’s BookServer project, a not-for-profit digital library, and a co-founder of the Open Book Alliance, Brantley shares insights on the perils for authors hoping to “navigate and arbitrate what their rights are to recreate their product in a digital environment.”

With the excitement and freedom of digital publishing, Brantley warns, there remains a need to remain watchful. “It’s not just that authors [now] have an opportunity to create trans-media works that are new and fresh with new material,” he notes. “They also have an opportunity to create trans-media works that are new and fresh from old material. And, again, trying to work through how those things are created, distributed and how the rights are arbitrated for that content, is a big challenge.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) No 36: Graphic Conrad, Books and Houses, Television, Disney's Education Play and Twitter

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness has been published as a graphic novel (Guardian):

To reinforce the geographical and historical immediacy of Conrad's tale, the graphic novel is interspersed with excerpts from The Congo Diary – the journal Conrad kept of his 1890 voyage up the river.Anyango's research also led her to the story of a man from a village in the Upper Congo called Nsala. She came across a photograph of him sat on a step contemplating the hand and foot of his daughter, which had been cut off by guards sent to his village by the Anglo Belgian India Rubber Company.

The men, ordered to attack Nsala's village for failing to provide the company with enough rubber, devoured his wife and daughter, leaving only the child's hand and foot."I put him on one page, and similar portraits on others, so the Congolese characters have resonance at least for me, even if they remain stereotyped because of the existing narrative," she said.

In her efforts to ensure the authenticity of the uniforms she drew — the protagonist, Marlow, is given a cap with a prominent Belgian lion badge — Anyango was shocked to discover how markedly Belgian perceptions of the occupation of Congo still vary.

For some, it is a shameful episode in the country's history, while others still view it as a benign experience despite the evidence uncovered by recent histories such as Adam Hochschild's 1998 book, King Leopold's Ghost, which laid bare the barbarism inflicted on Congo.

Contemplating the end of the physical book (WaPo):

But what a loss to the ways books represent, bedevil and impeach us. They represent us, of course, as anyone knows who has made basic decisions about which books go in the living room and which get confined to less public places. That they bedevil us is clear if you have moved recently or live burdened with closets filled with books -- books under the bed, books in the attic -- or if you have ever saved a book for years or decades only to discover, upon desperately needing it, that it has been lost in the general deluge of too many books. But they also impeach us, and it is that function that electronic readers can never replicate.

A wall of books is mortality made geometric, a pattern of hope and loss, ambition and failure. There's so much fraud lurking on our shelves, fraudulent books such as "My Sister and I." Purported to be by Nietzsche, it is suspiciously more readable, lurid and fun than anything by Nietzsche. But there's also the record of our own fraud, the books we intend to read but never will, the books of which we remember no more than what is printed on the dust jacket -- yet claim to possess in some deeper way.

There are books we pretend to keep for reference, but in fact keep only because they look so damn fine on the shelf. And then there are the books where should-have-read blends with may-have-read, and we're too embarrassed to confess we can't remember which is the case ("Catcher in the Rye"). There are also the books of hollow triumph, the great tomes of philosophy read in college, which remain on the shelves like snapshots taken from the summit of Everest or like pants in the closet that will never again slide up our thighs without tearing.

The noise about online TV may not matter: Old line media firms are firmly in control of internet video (Economist):

Even Google, the arch-disrupter, is looking tame. The firm is building its browser and search bar into high-end televisions, hoping that couch potatoes will use it to look for programmes. If some of them can be directed to shows on YouTube, Google will be able to siphon advertising away from television.

It would be a fine plan if YouTube had lots of high-quality programmes, but it hasn’t. (The Onion, a humorous website, once imagined a YouTube contest challenging users to make a “good” video.) So YouTube will probably have to pay top dollar for films, limiting its appeal and turning a once subversive force into a humdrum distributor. Old-fashioned television is hardly being swept away.

At present people watch online video for three hours per month, according to Nielsen, compared with 158 hours for old-style television. And the early evidence suggests that those whizzy new connected sets are not always connected. A recent poll for Forrester Research found that many people didn’t fully understand the devices they had bought, and only a few had recommended them to their friends. They may learn. But such apathy from early adopters suggests that content owners will have plenty of time to prepare for the revolution.

Looking at Disney's education play in China (Economist):

The initial development costs, which Disney has not disclosed, must have been huge. Within a decade the programme will have a material impact on Disney’s results, predicts Andrew Sugerman, who runs it. Disney hopes to keep doubling the number of Chinese students it teaches every year for a while. This is a risky venture—long-term, complex and in an area China considers sensitive: education. Yet the potential rewards are huge.

The very complexity of education means that it is less vulnerable to the piracy that usually stops Western media firms from making money in China. A bootleg copy of “Mulan” is much cheaper than the real thing and possibly just as good, other than the fact that it is stolen. It is harder to fake a good education.

Disney’s focus groups find that for Chinese parents, “education means everything”. English, in particular, is viewed as a ticket to the wider world, says Mr Sugerman. Studies commissioned by Disney estimate that the market for children’s English-language education in China is growing by 12% annually and will reach $3.7 billion by 2012. That may be too modest. Adele Mao, an analyst at OLP Global, a research and consulting firm, reckons the market is already nearly $6 billion a year and is growing by 20%.

There is an equally dynamic market for adult education. One Chinese company which caters to all ages, New York-listed New Oriental Education, has a market valuation of $3.8 billion. Dozens of others have entered the business.

From the twitter:

Grisham Dreams of a Desk Job - NYTimes. His own #jobsivehad

Source Interlink Takes on Massive Photo Digitization Project Folio

PND Blogpost: Elsevier Introduces SciVerse PND A significant change for the platform.

Los Angeles Times: Our 12 favorite non-book literary oddities on EBay Jacket Copy

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Animals in War Monument Park Lane

Animals in War - Mayfair London 2009
A weekly image from my archive. Click on the image to make it larger.

For a nation that supposedly loves animals the British certainly put them through a lot. Finally, they have their own memorial that sits in the center divide running down Park Lane. Inscribed in the portland stone is the inscription:
"This monument is dedicated to all the animals that served and died alongside British and allied forces in wars and campaigns throughout time. They had no choice"
This image was taken in April 2009.