Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Making Information Pay: Higher Ed Special Program

The Book Industry Study Group is extending their successful Making Information Pay Seminar Series to the Higher Education market. They are hosting an event on February 9, 2011 in New York City. From their press release:
Book companies focusing on the higher education marketplace can learn the ways in which new media is impacting how and where college students are acquiring course materials when the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) hosts a new half-day live conference, titled What College Students Think: Making Information Pay for Higher Ed Publishing, February 9, 2011 at the Yale Club of New York City.

In the tradition of BISG's highly-successful Making Information Pay conference series, What College Students Think: Making Information Pay for Higher Ed Publishing will present a tightly-focused agenda featuring perspectives from senior executives at industry-leading companies. Rather than providing a broad industry perspective, however, this program is being specifically tailored to the needs of higher education executives in acquisitions, development, media, marketing and sales who need to understand the changing needs of the college students using their materials.

"Today's college student is learning through an expanding array of media channels ranging from traditional textbooks to online learning platforms to websites, social media and mobile applications," said Angela Bole, Deputy Executive Director of BISG. "BISG is happy to be able to expand the successful half-day Making Information Pay conference series into a new annual program focusing solely on the higher education marketplace. This new program will take the industry a long way toward understanding how to compete for adoptions in today's world of open source and online educational products."

In addition to expert speakers, What College Students Think: Making Information Pay for Higher Ed Publishing will feature exclusive preliminary findings from BISG's newest research survey, Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education. Powered by Bowker's PubTrack Consumer, this major new survey is providing in-depth analysis into how students currently enrolled in 2-year, 4-year and for-profit institutions perceive and use different types of educational materials in their course of study. The survey is sponsored by Champion Sponsor, Xplana, with additional sponsorship from Baker & Taylor, Budgetext, CourseSmart, Follett Higher Educational Group, Kno and Pearson.

"An event like this, designed particularly for higher education professionals, is critical given the challenges and opportunities facing this market from both a content development and a distribution standpoint," said Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Publishing Services for Bowker. "The timeliness of this event, and the relevance of the data presented, will help academic publishers walk away with tangible insights into these areas."

What College Students Think: Making Information Pay for Higher Ed Publishing is organized by the Book Industry Study Group with Anchor Sponsorship from Bowker's PubTrack Consumer. Program and speaker management is being provide

d by Ted Hill of THA Consulting. For more information, or to register, click on the Logo:

Additional event sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Angela Bole at angela@bisg.org or 646-336-7141 for details.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) No 47: Digital Collections, Moleskin, Amazon & Tax, Author Interviews, National Digital Library

This edition slightly shorter than normal given the Thanksgiving weekend.

Check out these job opportunities if you didn't see them last week (PND).

From the LA Times a short article on digital libraries (LAT):
Equipped with imaging equipment far more powerful — and often less expensive — than a decade ago, libraries of all sizes are transforming their physical collections into virtual ones. The ultimate goal is to digitize troves of books and documents long hidden in basements and to share them with the world in electronic form.

"Name an institution, and if they have books they're looking to digitize them," said Nick Warnock, president of Los Angeles-based Atiz Innovation Inc., which sells a variety of scanning rigs that allow library technicians to scan as many as 800 pages a minute. The final result is a digitally bound book made from images of the original.

Warnock said his business has doubled this year as more libraries and other organizations become aware of the value of scanning older documents.

The company says it has sold more than 2,000 of its scanning stations to libraries and government agencies around the world, including Stanford, UCLA and the Getty Center. The lowest-cost Atiz rig, called the BookDrive Mini, sells for around $6,000 without the pair of cameras. Canon models that go with it range from $500 to $7,000 each for high-end models.
And what is note book producer Moleskin up to you ask? (PrintMag):
Despite Moleskine’s understandable support of print, the company has been trying to reach into the digital world. In 2009, it introduced MSK, a program that formats web pages for printout so they can be tucked inside notebooks. It’s not the most elegant system, but it’s a first step toward envisioning a digitally minded Moleskine. The next step is the iPhone app that was initially scheduled to be released last summer. It is now on hold, but the company says it will be a digital correspondent to the paper notebook. A draft press release suggested it would “take geopositioned written or visual notes and share them on social networks.” The layout could be changed to match users’ favorite Moleskines, and notes could be put in MSK formatting and printed out. Users would launch the app by plucking a digital version of the elastic band.
Amazon's Lack of Tax Issue (Salon):

Sales tax is a touchy subject for Amazon. Local retailers have long protested that online stores' tax-free status gives them an unfair price advantage. Amazon, wary of provoking state or federal authorities, has played down this advantage. It doesn't tout tax savings anywhere on its site or in other marketing efforts. In a brilliant report on Amazon's tax strategy, Michael Mazerov of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that company representatives have long argued that Amazon's tax advantage is not a big deal. "People shop online for convenience, for huge selection and great prices, and not because of any sales tax issue," a spokesman said in 1999. And an executive once told a group of state tax administrators that "we don't consider tax as a competitive advantage." (The company didn't respond to my inquiries about its tax policies.)

But Mazerov argues that Amazon's actions suggest that taxes have always been a primary consideration. Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, moved from New York to Seattle to start the company. "We could have started Amazon.com anywhere," he told Fast Company in 1996. "We chose Seattle because it met a rigorous set of criteria." Among other things, Seattle had lots of talented tech people, it was a nice enough place to attract many more smart people, and it was close to a big book warehouse.

This was true of the San Francisco area, too, which Bezos had also considered for Amazon's headquarters. But Bezos saw one major problem with San Francisco—it's in a big state with high taxes, meaning lots of customers would be subject to sales tax if they bought stuff from Amazon. "I even investigated whether we could set up Amazon.com on an Indian reservation near San Francisco," Bezos told Fast Company. "This way we could have access to talent without all the tax consequences. Unfortunately, the government thought of that first."

David Rothman on Creating a National Digital Library System (Atlantic). The article is long but here is a sample (and the comments are useful also):
A library plan and related initiatives should include the actual collections, not just for traditional education and research but also for job training; tight integration with schools, libraries, and other institutions; encouragement of the spread of the right hardware and connections; and the cost-justification described in the stimulus proposal. Multimedia is essential, and Kindle-style tablets will almost surely include color and video in the future, blurring distinctions between them and iPads. But the digital library system mustn't neglect books and other texts. Old-fashioned literacy, in fact, rather than e-book standards, should be the foremost argument for a national digital library system--as a way to expand the number and variety of books for average Americans, especially students. Without basic skills, young people will not be fit for many demanding blue-collar jobs, much less for Ph.D.-level work, and economic growth will suffer (PDF). Even recreational reading of fiction, not just nonfiction, can help develop the comprehension needed for the job-related kind. But by the end of high school, most young people in the United States no longer read for fun. E-books and other technology could expand their reading choices and make books more enticing, through such wrinkles as Kindle-style dictionaries and encyclopedia links to help students better understand the words in front of them.

The need is there. Decades ago when I worked the poverty beat at a factory-town newspaper in Lorain, Ohio, on Lake Erie, west of Cleveland, I did not see even pulp-fiction titles in the apartments of typical welfare mothers. Most middle-class homes also tended not to teem with books--probably true in New York or Boston as well. And this antediluvian era was years before distractions such as super-cheap video games, $67 color televisions from WalMart, cellphones, social networks, and, of course, other sites on the World Wide Web. The 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report sponsored by Scholastic says more than half of the surveyed children read for pleasure between six and eight years of age, but that the statistic drops to a quarter for those between 15 and 17. For 15-17-year-old boys, the fraction of recreational readers is a mere fifth--maybe one reason why so many men are falling behind women in earning power.
A great collection of audio interviews with authors on the BBC website:
Great writers have always fascinated their readers. We want to know how they create the characters we love or hate, the evocative settings, and the plots that have us reading late into the night, desperate to know what happens next. Throughout its history, the BBC has aimed to help audiences delve into the imagination of writers. This collection of interviews with some of the 20th Century's most read authors reveals something of those imaginations and the personalities which lie behind some of the greatest modern novels.

From the twitter (@personanondata):

Norwegian publishers offer reward to solve William Nygaard case:

Book Industry Study Group Webcast - Digital Books: A New Chapter for Reader Privacy. Nov 30th, 1pm

New media and the future of books-Interview with Chi Young-suk (Elsevier, IPA)




Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 1968

Thanksgiving 1968
A weekly image from my archive. Click on the image to make it larger.
The lobby display at the Siam Intercontinental in 1968. This would count as my first Thanksgiving - although I think that's the middle brother not me. The family had recently arrived in Bangkok where we stayed for about a year before we moved to New Zealand. PND senior was resident manager at the hotel and we lived above the store. I like the pineapples and bananas as part of the display - very authentic.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Job Opportunities

I rarely do this and maybe I should do it a little more. I am often asked to recommend someone or I'm presented with a position that isn't for me and I will forward a name(s) to those asking. I do my best to help out (and I hope that's reciprocated for me personally - and I think it is).

Here are a few positions I have heard of recently:

Senior Director of Research: This position is in the legal market working for a company that provides insight and value added research. The position will be highly visible within the organization and among the responsibilities are the following:
  • Spearhead, direct, and oversee all company research projects from research design to implementation, analysis and product development:
    • including research and surveys for both editorial and commercial projects and broader research efforts, including those related to integrated services and systems that support law firms and vendors.
  • Publish and disseminate research findings, and offer lessons learned on business of law topics to the field by interacting with others external to to gather input into research design and focus.
This position required prior experience managing a research staff and contributing to research projects.

A major publisher is looking for a Corporate level director of digital strategy: This position is for someone very familiar with digital publishing, business strategy and corporate development. Ideally, the person will be 10/15yrs into their career with top tier strategy consulting experience as well as domain (publishing) experience. Located in NYC.

Director of Metadata Services for a large data company. This is a confidential search but if you have management experience, bibliographic database experience, budgeting and staff reporting experience in a complex business organization then this may be of interest.

The position of Linux Systems Administrator will be responsible for implementing and maintaining reliable, scalable and secure Red Hat and Debian based server environments for several product lines and services. The position will require an excellent understanding of common application topologies (including the LAMP stack and Weblogic based 3-tier applications), performance management and capacity planning of a dynamic and complex environment. The ideal candidate will be a proven technical leader with solid operating system administration skills and the ability to maintain a positive attitude while working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.

(I have only a casual understanding of what any of that means). There's some light programming as well.

If you are qualified and interested in any of these positions let me know and I will forward your details to the right person. All these positions are with different companies and are being handled by different people.

michael.cairns at infomediapartners.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Take A Holiday Reading Survey for A Cause

From Publishing Trends:

Welcome to our Holiday Books: Giving and Getting survey, which we hope you'll fill out (and ask your friends to fill out as well). For each person who completes the survey, Publishing Trends will donate $1 to Room to Read (http://www.roomtoread.org).

Take the survey here:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JZ7PCVY

It focuses on the books you'll be giving (and hoping to get) this holiday season, as well as where you go for gifts (your company’s warehouse? Amazon?) and other book-giving etiquette issues, holiday parties, and more. It’s fun to take—we promise—and the results will be included in the December issue of Publishing Trends.

The survey closes on Tuesday, November 30.

Happy holidays,

Laura Hazard Owen

Editor, Publishing Trends

Monday, November 22, 2010

Speculation over Reed Elsevier (Again): Missing the Bigger Point

Several UK Sunday newspapers report new speculation about the future of Reed Elsevier and specifically whether the company could be ripe for a private equity buy-out. Shares were volatile on Friday in what could be more a reflection of market boredom than anything else. Since Erik Engstrom took over the CEO role a year ago, analysts have speculated that the company would either shed assets or be taken private given the company's languishing share price and inconsistent performance across the group. Last week the company confirmed their full year guidance which calls for "modest" erosion of margins given a strained revenue outlook (Bloomberg):

“As previously stated, a modest reduction year-on-year in adjusted operating margin is expected due to a weak revenue environment and increased investment in legal markets,” the London-based company said in a Business Wire statement today. “Any sustained recovery is expected to be gradual and remains dependent on economic conditions.”

Subscription sales in many professional markets are still constrained by “low customer activity levels and budgets,” while advertising and other cyclical markets continued to stabilize, according to the statement.

“In the second half we have continued to sharpen our focus in key markets, through new product development, increased sales and marketing activities, and portfolio realignment,” Chief Executive Officer Erik Engstrom said in the statement.

Weakened renewal subscriptions are likely to constrain revenue for sometime given annual subscription cycles in addition to weakness in the professional markets such as their legal market. The company has sold off some smaller business and products - last week they sold a German business unit to Wolters Kluwer for example but in total these seem minor compared with what analysts and potential private equity investors may be contemplating.

The Telegraph tries to put some more meat on the bones of a somewhat old story by suggesting that the management team at Reed Exhibitions is working with private equity groups Cinven and Apax to prepare a bid for the Exhibitions business unit. Private equity as said to respect the management of the group: Whether Engstrom respects them on Monday morning may be another story.

These titillating financial stories gloss over some difficult issues for Reed Elsevier. In particular, the company is likely to see significant competition from Bloomberg as that company aggressively targets the legal and regulatory market place. Unfortunately for Reed, they may be strategically limited by not having a strong financial and business news unit which is the core of Bloomberg and which Thomson West - their other competitor - possesses in Thomson Financial & Reuters. (A deal between Reed and Reuters would have been strategically more important than the deal the company ultimately made to acquire Choicepoint). Whereas information companies built their businesses over the past 15yrs on organization around silos - financial, news, medical, legal, etc. - the rapid improvement in search, taxonomies and user interface are enabling information companies to 'reintegrate' their siloed content. This is where Reed maybe disadvantaged vis a vis Bloomberg and Thomson and whether that can be solved by taking the company private is a crap shoot. But then, that's what private equity is good at.

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Michael Cairns

See also Crains (Reg Required). C/P headline into Google.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) 47: Tolstoy's Family, Hornby's Kids, King James Bible, Brighton Rock.

Leo Tolstoy's impressive family tree (Independent):

But it’s not just his work that has spread across the globe – it’s also his descendents. Leo and his wife Sofia had, during their long and tempestuous marriage, 13 children (five of whom died young). During the revolution, members of this large family fled Russia. In the hundred years since his death, the Tolstoy diaspora – now numbering over 300 – has fanned out, with family clusters in France, Italy and Sweden, and descendants to be found as far afield as Uruguay, Brazil and the United States.

The importance of family to Tolstoy was enormous, according to Orwin. “For him, the family was the lynchpin that brought together nature and civilization, happiness and duty.” Tolstoy’s work itself often features pretty hefty family dynasties: War and Peace includes characters based on Tolstoy’s own relations (Princess Mary and Nicholas Rostov, for example, were modelled on his parents). Orwin adds that “he could never have written Anna Karenina without his family experience. When Tolstoy describes Anna’s clandestine visit to her son Seryozha, he is drawing on his personal observations of the love between mother and child at Yasnaya Polyana.”

Rosamund Bartlett, author of new biography Tolstoy: A Russian Life, adds: “In his earlier life, family meant everything to Tolstoy - although he withdrew from family life in his later years. He was forever seeking in his fiction to recreate the lost paradise of his early childhood, which is one reason why his family estate Yasnaya Polyana was so important.”

Tolstoy in Worldcat

Inside Nick Hornby's Ministry of Stories (Observer)
Author Nick Hornby and art entrepreneurs Ben Payne and Lucy Macnab open the first Ministry of Stories centre in east London. Based on Dave Eggars' San Francisco project 826 Valencia, the volunteer-run Hoxton Street Monster Supplies aims to inspire children in creative writing. It has already found favour with David Cameron and his 'big society' agenda.
Robert McCrum in the Observer takes a look at the King James bible as it turns 400 (Observer):

As well as selling an estimated 1bn copies since 1611, the KJB went straight into our literary bloodstream like a lifesaving drug. Whenever we put words into someone's mouth, or see the writing on the wall, or go from strength to strength, or eat, drink and be merry, or fight the good fight, or bemoan the signs of the times, or find a fly in the ointment, or use words such as "long-suffering", "scapegoat" and "peacemaker" we are unconsciously quoting the KJB.

More astounding, compared to Shakespeare's prodigal 31,000-word vocabulary, the KJB works its magic with a lexicon of just 12,000 words.More than this enthralling matrix of linguistic influence, there's the miracle of the translation itself, a triumph of creative collaboration (54 scholars in six committees), outright plagiarism and good old English pragmatism. The Authorized Version's mission statement was a masterpiece of lowered expectations. Its aim, it declared, was not "to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, that hath been our endeavour".

Movie trailer for the remake of Graham Green's Brighton Rock (Guardian)

Lonely Planet has identified their list of the world's greatest bookstores (LP):
Bookshops are a traveller’s best friend: they provide convenient shelter and diversion in bad weather, they’re a reliable source of maps, notebooks, and travel guides, they often host readings and other cultural events, and if you raced through your lone paperback on the first leg of your trip, the bookshop is the place to go for literary replenishment. Taken from Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011, here are our picks for the best spots to browse, buy, hang out, find sanctuary among the shelves, rave about your favourite writers and meet book-loving characters.
From the twitter (@personanondata)

Elvis Costello's list of the 500 Greatest Albums Ever:

iPad 'newspaper' created by Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch

UWash Report - How Students Use of Information in the Digital Age

Can't Pick a College Major? Create One -

Wolters Kluwer buys Lexis Nexis Germany from Reed


And in sports a great article charting the launch of the (un)Manchester United team FC United of Manchester (Observer). Things are looking good for Man Utd at the moment (BBC) though we should have won at least four more games.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Repost: Book Buyers in all the Strange Places

Originally posted on February 25, 2007:


A few weeks ago Mrs PND and I were watching The Daily Show-- and I thought this show and The Colbert Report, which follows it, are really serious about books. And not your run-of-the- mill titles, but some with real meat. Recent authors on the shows have included Ralph Nader, John Danforth, Jimmy Carter and Ishmael Beah. It is curious that the last title seems to have generated some media attention on a number of fronts. Firstly, it was the second title that Starbucks has selected to 'showcase' in its stores (following Mitch Albom's recent book). Recent sales figures indicate that sales through Starbucks are smoking the traditional sales channels of B&N and Borders. Fellow traveller Eoin Purcell noted the reports from Galleycat and wondered several things about the market for these books sold via Starbucks and whether publishers are doing something wrong. In my mind, Starbucks moving so many units has more to do with the power of the Starbucks brand but it could also reflect a deficiency in publishers' marketing philosophy, as I noted in my comments on his blog:
In my mind there is a distinct correlation between a Starbucks selection and an Oprah selection and it doesn’t surprise me that Beah’s book and the Albom title are doing well at Starbucks. The reason I think there is a correlation is that the Starbucks and Oprah brands are so strong we well may trust them to recommend anything (probably some limits!). Certainly there are some other factors at play - no other titles, spur of the moment purchasing, what have you - but I think we believe that the title is available at Starbucks because they have taken the time - like Oprah and Richard and Judy - to select the very best title that they believe their customers will like and value. Five or six years ago, no one would have predicted that Oprah would be able to move so many books and it took the industry by surprise. The point for publishers is that there are ‘influencers’ that captivate the media (and thereby consumers) that publishers need to identify, nurture and exploit. I think it will be the canny publisher that actually starts to build a list specifically of interest to an ‘influencer’ so that this person (or brand) can support and promote the titles as Starbucks or Oprah does. For example, what if Macmillan launched a Starbucks imprint to sell titles (out of every outlet) that were selected and ‘vetted’ by the Starbucks team. The books would be available everywhere else but, at Starbucks, the consumer would associate their warm fuzzy feeling about the brand to the product extension--the books.
I do think that success in non-traditional outlets seems to catch publishers off-guard. A few months ago, the NYT wrote about books sold at weird, non-bookstore outlets such as butcher shops and clothes stores. Many in the industry derided the article because, as 'insiders', we thought the NYT was being disingenuous about something publishers already know. But do they?

Today's article in the Times discusses the book program on Comedy Central and it strongly suggests that the success of the program is an accident - at least to the publishers. Perhaps this is the manner in which the article is written; however, it appears that weighty titles are ending up on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report because the traditional outlets utilized by publishers don't work as well as they used to. Thus by default. What is unsaid is that publishers don't really understand their market. The relationship between The Daily Show audience and a publisher's target consumer should be easy to determine. Yet, despite the fact that The Daily Show has been on for 10 years, we are supposed to be surprised at the bump Beah's book received after appearing on the show two weeks ago.
Publishers say that particularly for the last six months, “The Daily Show” and its spin off, “The Colbert Report,” which has on similarly wonky authors, like the former White House official David Kuo, have become the most reliable venues for promoting weighty books whose authors would otherwise end up on “The Early Show” on CBS looking like they showed up at the wrong party.
Perhaps twenty years ago, Rolling Stone magazine ran an ad campaign that showed a hippie tricked-out VW van with weird colors and stickers with a recent Merc or BMW next to it. The ad was headed "Perception and Reality "and was meant to show that the readers of RS were not the hippies of old, but rich yuppies. To some extent, there may be some of this going on here when the publishers say,
Part of the surprise, publishers said, is that the Comedy Central audience is more serious than its reputation allows. The public may still think of the “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” audience as a group of sardonic slackers, Gen-Y college students who prefer YouTube to print. But publishers say it’s a much more diverse demographic — and, more important, a book-buying audience.
There are more book buyers out there and perhaps if publishers spent more time understanding how 'influencers' manage our information flows they wouldn't be taken by surprise. As we know, 'influencers' can be butchers as much as they can be news readers.

The Times isn't necessarily a completely viable messenger and I believe their perceptions are off-kilter to some degree, as they reflect on the subject matter and refer to it as 'fake-news'. Objectively, The Daily Show is not 'fake-news'; it is ironic, funny and sometimes brutally honest news, but it is news nonetheless. I expect they wouldn't suggest that the NBC news is 'real news' just because it is dull and humourless.

It all comes down to knowing your audience. That is the Starbucks way and should be what publishers need to do more of.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Students Use of Information in the Digital Age

New report from the University of Washington using a grant from the Macarthur Foundation on how college students evaluate and use information in the digital age. The summary of the findings are as follows:
All in all, the findings suggest students in both large universities and small colleges use a risk averse strategy based on efficiency and predictability in order to manage and control the information available to them on campuses. Still, most students struggle with the same frustrating open-endedness when trying to find information and conduct research for college courses and to a far lesser extent, for solving an information problem in their personal lives.

Major findings are as follows:
1. Students in the sample took little at face value and reported they were frequent
evaluators of information culled from the Web and to a lesser extent, the campus library.

More often than anything else, respondents considered whether information was up-to date and current when evaluating Web content (77%) and library materials (67%) for course work.

2. Evaluating information was often a collaborative process—almost two-thirds of the
respondents (61%) reportedly turned to friends and/or family members when they
needed help and advice with sorting through and evaluating information for personal use. Nearly half of the students in the sample (49%) frequently asked instructors for assistance with assessing the quality of sources for course work—far fewer
asked librarians (11%) for assistance.

3. The majority of the sample used routines for completing one research assignment to the next, including writing a thesis statement (58%), adding personal perspective to papers (55%), and developing a working outline (51%). Many techniques were
learned in high school and ported to college, according to students we interviewed.

4. Despite their reputation of being avid computer users who are fluent with new
technologies, few students in our sample had used a growing number of Web 2.0
applications within the past six months for collaborating on course research assignments and/or managing research tasks.

5. For over three-fourths (84%) of the students surveyed, the most difficult step of the course-related research process was getting started. Defining a topic (66%), narrowing it down (62%), and filtering through irrelevant results (61%) frequently hampered students in the sample, too. Follow-up interviews suggest students lacked the research acumen for framing an inquiry in the digital age where information abounds and intellectual discovery was paradoxically overwhelming for them.

6. Comparatively, students reported having far fewer problems finding information for personal use, though sorting through results for solving an information problem in their daily lives hamstrung more than a third of the students in the sample (41%).

7. Unsurprisingly, what mattered most to students while they were working on course related research assignments was passing the course (99%), finishing the assignment (97%), and getting a good grade (97%). Yet, three-quarters of the sample also reported they considered carrying out comprehensive research of a topic (78%) and learning something new (78%) of importance to them, too.

Our analysis shows robust relationships and similarities among variables from our sample of students at 25 educational institutions in the U.S. However, these findings should not be viewed as comprehensive, but as another part of our ongoing research.
While additional research is warranted in order to confirm whether or not our conclusions may be generalized to the nationwide college and university population, the size of our sample and consistent patterns of responses do lend credibility to our findings.

In the following pages, we present detailed findings from our analysis in three parts:

Part One: A comparative analysis of how students find information and prioritize their use of information sources, based on survey data from last year (2009) and this yearʼs survey (2010).

Part Two: Findings about how students evaluate information they find on the Web and through the library for course work and personal use. In addition, findings about how students use routine techniques for completing for course-related research assignments, including their use of Web 2.0 applications.

Part Three: Findings about the difficulties, challenges, and obstacles students frequently encounter during the entire research process—from start to finish—for course work and for personal use.

Over America: Mt Hood

Mt Hood, 1973
A weekly image from my archive. Click on the image to make it larger.

In the family archive there is a batch of 100 duplicate images. Dupes are rarely marked with a month and year as processed images normally are so for this particular batch of images I have no idea what the date was. I am guessing 1973 but there are few if any markers in the set to make a definite declaration. There are many from the air photos and most of these are unidentifiable as is this image on the left. I am guessing Mt Hood. It is from the Pacific North West since there are some images of Seattle Tacoma airport in the set. Again, as is the case with numerous archive photos that I had no hand in, less than 10 years later I ended up going to school in this area. If you can identify these images let me know.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) No 46: Hay-on-Wye, Commercial Libraries, Bush Critics, Random House Film & Words.

The Telegraph will partner with the Hay-on-Wye book festival for the next three years (Telegraph):
Over the next three years, in these pages and throughout the Telegraph, you’ll be able to enjoy writers and thinkers of this calibre, and experience some of what the organisers of Hay have put on for those who have visited since it began. When I suggest to Florence that he is immune to the old parlour game about fantasy dinner guests because he’s had his fantasy several times over, he replies: “Yes, except it’s not dinner, it’s a picnic.” The green fields of Hay are “great levellers”, he says. The Hay organisers operate in the belief that a child who lives on the border between Herefordshire and Powys is entitled to the same world-class entertainment as a child who lives in Hampstead and attends Westminster School. And locals are now, he says, blasé to the point of comedy about celebrity.

Twenty years ago, one writer Florence had invited to Hay turned him down, on the grounds that his project was implausible – literature in Britain, the author replied, was simply not good enough to sustain a 10-day festival. Now Hay welcomes not just hundreds of thousands of people over 10 days in May, but hundreds of thousands more across the globe, trading in intellectual dynamism and productive mischief.

Hay’s expansion internationally is both an important part of its future and entirely in keeping with its founding concerns. It’s a way, Florence says, of “finding out about the world through its writers”. The guiding spirit of the festivals has always been, he adds, “scepticism, inquiry, going beyond what you’re told. Think again. Look twice.”
Nothing, we feel, could better match the perceptiveness and curiosity of Telegraph readers.
The Chronicle Review has a thought provoking article on the commercialization of libraries (Chron):

Libraries have already drifted too far down the commercial path: Research and educational values must be restored to their primacy of place. "Good enough" and one-stop shopping are no substitutes for systematic research. Technology cannot replace human expertise. The business world has many valuable tools and resources to offer, but libraries must insist that scholarly requirements take precedence over commercial interests.

The need to realign library values is especially urgent in the realm of monographs. Electronic publishing of academic monographs is still at an early stage, but it is growing fast. As it is developing, e-monographic publishing is following the path of e-journals and will, therefore, reproduce many of the same problems—spiraling prices, homogeneous collections, greater numbers of low-quality monographs. Libraries will provide access to titles owned by the publishers, who will offer them up in preset packages accompanied by complex licensing agreements that constrain their use. (Existing e-book licenses, for example, generally prohibit interlibrary loans.)

And what about the Bush book from several UK perspectives (Independent):

Tony Blair: 'Some of our allies wavered. Tony Blair never did'Seven years after the invasion of Iraq, George Bush and Tony Blair remained joined at the hip. Sorry is the hardest word for both of them. The former US president seems to have studied the former prime minister's appearance before the Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq in January. A headline flashed danger signals in Mr Blair's mind as he was asked whether he had any regrets. He did not want the headline to be "Blair apologises for war" or "Blair finally says sorry." So he said merely that he took responsibility for his actions. Mr Bush has been through the same thought process. "I mean, apologising would basically say the decision was a wrong decision," Mr Bush told NBC. "And I don't believe it was the wrong decision." Unlike his soulmate, Mr Bush does not do emotion. In his own memoirs, Mr Blair pleads for understanding from his critics, saying: "Do they really suppose I don't care, don't feel, don't regret with every fibre of my being the loss of those who died?" In contrast, Mr Bush says: "It doesn't matter how people perceive me in England. It just doesn't matter any more. And frankly, at times, it didn't matter then." Mr Blair was ready to ignore political opinion. Mr Bush offered Mr Blair a last-minute opt-out from the Iraq invasion when he realised it could bring his closest foreign ally down, saying he wanted regime change in Baghdad, not London.Revealingly, Mr Blair replied: "I'm in. If it costs the Government, fine." That unquestioning loyalty might have surprised some observers at the time. But Mr Bush already felt he had a sense of his British ally's character. It was a judgement he had come to on Mr Blair's first visit to the US president's Crawford ranch in 2001."There was no stiffness about Tony and Cherie," he writes. "After dinner, we decided to watch a movie. When they agreed on Meet the Parents, a comedy starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, Laura and I knew the Bushes and Blairs would get along."Andrew Grice, Political Editor

Random House have launched a web site dedicated to movies and television made from their books (Word & Film)

















From the twitter this week (@personanondata)

Elsevier Releases Image Search; New SciVerse ScienceDirect Feature Enables Researchers to Quickly Find Visual content. Press Release

The Australian: Local publishers invited to Apple's iBookstore.

Telegraph: Pearson to double number of language schools in China.

paidContent: Why Publishers Are Tracking The Costco v. Omega Supreme Court Case

MediaPost: NY Appeals Court Reinstates Amazon Sales Tax Suit 11/09/2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Repost: The Beatles Bookstore and Reference Collections

Originally posted on January 19, 2010.


I may have the best collection of Beatles books for sale on Amazon. How? I recently read The Beatles, The Biography by Bob Spitz and in the back of the book were eight pages of bibliographic references. As I looked through these it occurred to me that all the work 'behind the book' is essentially hidden to the reader; more importantly this 'extra' content represents un-monetized revenue to the publisher. As more non-fiction titles are available on the web and as publishers attempt to build direct relationships with readers it would seem obvious that adding the 'raw' content that went into the creation of the work - all of which represents real, tangible material and research - could be made available to the consumer as a package of content. Let the consumer decide if they want to read only the finished book or delve into the primary research material.

At BookExpo last year, a publisher from a major house lamented a friend who had spent 10 years writing some social history book and dammed if they didn't have a right to sell the book for $35. It struck me the reader doesn't really care it took ten years of the authors life; it's always about value proposition, and because consumers are barraged with free content the $35 often doesn't appear reasonable. On the other hand, if the reader had access to a 'reference' collection of material that was effectively curated by the author and expansive beyond the traditional book suddenly the value proposition of that social history begins to justify a price differential between the basic book (at $9.95 for sake of argument) and a companion web based reference collection at $35.

Getting back to The Beatles and my bookstore. I took all the citations and added them to my Amazon bookstore and there they reside as a dedicated Beatles bookstore. (I haven't sold much). This really isn't close to representing the true potential value that a web based reference collection of The Beatles could represent, yet Spitz did the work: He took the notes, watched the videos, interviewed the people, read the books, etc. etc. This material is index-able, with a little bit of foresight the writing/editing process could support more efficient collection of the bibliographic material and collectively the material could be monetized. As a 'reference collection' the book then becomes a living thing, because as new material about the Beatles is written or material is written about The Beatles, The Biography by reviewers and readers, all additional material can be added to the 'reference collection' thus keeping the book relevant. Accordingly, developing additional (web) content around a book in this manner starts to challenge the idea of front and back list.

If the publisher doesn't want to invest the time and effort in developing their content in this manner then I am sure third parties would be interested in licensing the rights to take the authors primary material, marry it with the finished product and create a web reference collection as I described. Last year I read a biography of Sir Charles Wren, the architect of post-Great Fire London. I know London fairly well, but I had a devil of a time locating and visualizing all the buildings discussed in the book: Just think of all the city plans, architectural diagrams and 3d models that this book could support. An end product maybe not for everyone but enough that the 'premium' $35 price looks viable.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yankee Book and Ebook library launch combined print and eBook acquisition work flow.

From their press release:
YBP Library Services, a Baker & Taylor company, and Ebook Library (EBL) announce the launch of the first comprehensive demand-driven workflow for print and e-book acquisition. The two companies will combine the book-in-hand descriptions and preferences from YBP's approval process with EBL's flexible real-time On Demand acquisition service, offering a robust just-in-time approach to delivering e-books and print books.

"Demand-driven acquisitions are a new way of helping our library customers to better serve their patrons," said Mark Kendall, Senior Vice President of Sales for YBP. "This partnership with EBL is a groundbreaking effort to add value."

EBL is a division of Ebooks Corporation Limited, an Australian public company with additional distribution channels that include ebooks.com (www.ebooks.com), the leading dedicated ebook retail site, and Ebook Services for publishers (http://www.ebookscorp.com/publishers.html). EBL's multi-user and demand-driven access models have been widely adopted by libraries around the world. EBL's ever-expanding catalogue currently offers over 150,000 titles from over more than 400 international publishers in a vast range of academic and professional subject areas.

This new service will enable libraries to use YBP's approval profiling methodologies to automatically designate new books as DDA (demand-driven acquisition), rather than receive the titles as an automatic book or as a slip. Titles designated as DDA will automatically be made available for patron-driven selection in EBL's On Demand platform. The initial launch of the DDA-Approval workflow will be available for e-books and then will be extended to incorporate print books from select publishers. The service will gradually incorporate an increasing percentage of the books YBP handles on approval.

"We are very pleased to enhance our On Demand service with YBP's outstanding approval plan tools and to add print books alongside e-books to our platform," said Kari Paulson, President of EBL. "EBL has been working for many years to provide innovative demand-driven acquisition services, and we believe the work we are doing with YBP is a step toward delivering the next generation of tools for providing a streamlined, end-to-end service for our libraries."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Books about Presidents

These USA Today snapshots were the best and most effective marketing and PR we did at Bowker when I was there. We got more mileage out of these than anything else we did. At the time it was Andrew Grabois who did the stats and this time it is Roy Crego.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Recent Publishers' Financial Headlines

The past few weeks have seen a resurgence of sorts in the fortunes of some of publishing's biggest players. Here is a summary:

Pearson noted that their markets were 'subdued' however they continued to produce market gains their competitors probably envy (Press Release):
Demand in some of our markets remained subdued in the third quarter, and the macroeconomic outlook is still uncertain. Even so, Pearson increased sales by 7% and adjusted operating profit 15% in the first nine months of 2010*. All parts of the company continued to perform strongly, with sales growth of 5% in Penguin, 7% in education and 11% at the Financial Times Group.
...

In North America, this strategy enabled us to gain share and grow faster than our market, with sales growth of 5% in the first nine months.

Our Higher Education business grew strongly once again. Its market remains healthy (industry sales up 10% in the first eight months, according to the Association of American Publishers) and our leadership in digital learning continues to produce market share gains. More than 3.5m students have enrolled in an online course provided by eCollege in the first nine months, an increase of almost 39% over last year. More than 6.5m college students have registered for our subject-specific digital learning tools (MyLabs), an increase of almost 34%.

Our Assessment and Information business remained resilient as we won or renewed a number of contracts including a teacher certification contract in Pennsylvania and student data systems in Utah.

The breadth of our School Curriculum business and its strength in digital is enabling us to grow despite weakness in state and local funding and uncertainty around the impact of new Common Core standards. We are planning on the basis that school funding remains under pressure in 2011 and that the total new adoption opportunity will be lower than in 2010. We are accelerating the transformation of our School business, investing to broaden the range of products and services we offer to schools to help them boost student performance and institutional efficiency.

Sales in International Education are up 8% after nine months. We are benefiting from strong demand in developing markets and for assessment services, English Language learning in China and digital, while developed markets and school publishing are generally soft. In the first nine months, MyLab registrations outside North America were up almost 40% on the same period last year to more than 460,000.
....
At Penguin, sales are up 5%. Physical retail markets are tough, but are offset for Penguin by strong publishing and rapid growth in eBook sales (which have increased threefold). Penguin continues to lead the industry in innovation in digital publishing, with 16,500 eBook titles now available and a number of children’s apps for bestselling brands. The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry became a bestseller in five formats (hardback, ebook, enhanced ebook, app and audio), a publishing first. The fourth quarter is an important selling season in consumer publishing and Penguin has a strong line-up of bestselling authors including Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Barbra Streisand and Nora Roberts in the US; and Michael McIntyre and Jamie Oliver in the UK.
Hachette (Grand Central Books) reported declines attributed to reduced sales of the Stephanie Meyer 'saga' (Press Release):
As expected, the erosion in sales of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) had a marked impact on revenue trends not only in the United States, but also in France and the United Kingdom. In France, the postponement of deliveries of secondary school textbooks from the third quarter to the fourth quarter (due to the late announcement of new curriculums) also had a temporarily negative effect. And in Spain, the Education market was more challenging than last year.

After a like-for-like revenue fall of just 4.5% in the first half of 2010, there was a more marked fall (of 6.8%) in the nine months to end September; this was largely due to the sharp decline in the Stephenie Meyer phenomenon and the non-recurrence of the sale of the international rights to the saga, booked in the first half of 2010.

However, revenues for the first nine months of 2010 are slightly ahead of those for the comparable period of 2008, demonstrating the remarkable resilience of the Lagardère group. Numerous literary successes - James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks in the United States, David Nicholls and Sarah Waters in the United Kingdom, and Jacques Attali and Erik Orsenna in France - are testimony to the dynamism of our publishing houses.

Sales of e-books remain strong, accounting for some 9% of revenues in the United States in the first nine months of 2010.

Simon & Schuster (Part of CBS)

For the three months ended September 30, 2010, Publishing revenues decreased 6% to $217.7 million from $230.4 million for the same prior-year period reflecting lower book sales in the adult group from the soft retail market, partially offset by growth in sales of digital content. Best-selling titles in the third quarter of 2010 included The Power by Rhonda Byrne and Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward.

For the three months ended September 30, 2010, Publishing operating income increased 11% to $29.4 million from $26.6 million and OIBDA increased 10% to $31.1 million from $28.4 million for the same prior-year period reflecting the impact of cost containment measures, lower royalty expenses and lower production costs from a change in the mix of titles.

Nine Months Ended September 30, 2010 and 2009:

For the nine months ended September 30, 2010, Publishing revenues decreased 3% to $559.1 million from $573.5 million for the same prior-year period reflecting the soft retail market, partially offset by growth in digital sales of Publishing content.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2010, Publishing operating income increased 47% to $44.9 million from $30.6 million and OIBDA increased 36% to $49.9 million from $36.6 million for the same prior-year period reflecting the impact of cost reduction measures and lower production expenses from a change in the mix of titles, partially offset by higher royalty expenses. Restructuring charges of $1.8 million incurred during the nine months ended September 30, 2010 reflect severance costs associated with the elimination of positions.

NewsCorp is done separating out the Harpercollins unit from their other publishing assets. (SeekingAlpha)

McGraw-Hill Education and Professional publishing reported as follows (Press Release):

Education: Revenue for this segment increased by 5.5% to $1.1 billion in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. Including a $3.8 million pre-tax gain on the divestiture of a secondary school business in Australia, the operating profit for the third quarter grew by 19.9% to $357.5 million. Cost controls contributed to the increase in the segment's operating margin to 33.9%, the best third-quarter performance for McGraw-Hill Education since 2007. Foreign exchange rates had an immaterial impact on revenue and operating profit in the third quarter. Revenue for the McGraw-Hill School Education Group increased by 6.7% to $534.7 million in the third quarter versus the same period last year. Revenue for the McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Professional and International Group grew by 4.3% to $520.0 million in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year. A strong performance in the state new adoption market was the major factor in McGraw-Hill School Education Group's third quarter results. The McGraw-Hill School Education Group is on track to capture approximately 30% of the estimated $825 million to $875 million state new adoption market in 2010. In 2009, the state new adoption market was about $500 million.
...
In professional publishing, online sales of books and digital products produced solid growth in the third quarter. Double-digit e-book sales were a bright spot in the sluggish retail book market, which continues to be buffeted by difficult economic conditions. More than 5,000 McGraw-Hill professional titles are now available to customers as e-books.

Harlequin a division of TorStar is often beset by forex changes (PR)
Book Publishing operating profit was $23.0 million in the third quarter of 2010, up $0.1 million from $22.9 million in the third quarter of 2009, as $1.4 million of underlying growth offset a negative $1.3 million from the impact of foreign exchange.

Year to date, Book Publishing operating profit was $66.1 million, up $3.0 million from $63.1 million last year as $6.2 million of underlying growth more than offset a negative $3.2 million from the impact of foreign exchange. In both the quarter and the year to date, operating results were up in the North America Direct-To-Consumer and Overseas divisions and down in the North America Retail division.
Earlier this month Wolters Kluwer reiterated their full year guidance (PR)
In the third quarter, growth in online and software solutions continued in all divisions. With improving retention rates across the business, subscription revenues, which represent 72% of total revenues, showed improvement over the prior year, especially for electronic revenues. This growth helped to offset the impact of print publishing declines and the continued pressure on advertising and pharma promotional product lines. Book performance improved in the third quarter driven by strong results in legal education and health book product lines.

The Health & Pharma Solutions division performed well, with strong growth noted at Clinical Solutions, Ovid, and books. Within Tax & Accounting, new sales and retention rates for software solutions grew at a solid rate which helped offset pressure on print-based publishing. Financial & Compliance Services saw double-digit growth in its audit risk and compliance product lines and cyclical revenues associated with mortgage lending improved in the third quarter. In the Legal & Regulatory division, transactional revenues at Corporate Legal Services continued to grow, reflecting the steady economic recovery underway in the U.S. While online and software products grew globally within Legal & Regulatory, macro economic conditions continue to put pressure on publishing and cyclical product lines such as training, consulting and advertising, particularly within Europe, offsetting the positive trends for electronic revenues.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Media Week (Vol 3) No 45: Attention and Information, British Museum Manuscripts, Irish Shorts, Audio Books, Renting Textbooks, Cooks Source

I don't normally quote blogs on these weekly round-ups (for no real reason) but I came across this post by The Aporetic questioning whether we are really suffering from over abundance of information versus what our ancestors faced:
Rus­tic sim­plic­ity, except that the farmer in charge has labor man­age­ment problems–who are these work­ers, how is he com­pen­sat­ing them? He has to man­age the horses–how is their health? Do they need feed­ing and water­ing? He’s got to get the har­vested wheat stored prop­erly: he’s check­ing the weather all the time–just imag­ine how much infor­ma­tion is involved, in an age before reli­able fore­casts, in guess­ing the weather! He’s scan­ning the crop itself, to see how much he lost to insects or dis­ease. He’s got a good idea of crop prices in Chicago and whether they’re trend­ing up or down. The scene was information-dense, and if you click on the image, you can see how the orig­i­nal title frames the scene. The mod­ern farmer climbs into the air con­di­tioned cab of a com­bine har­vester, and turns on the radio. The radio fills the atten­tion spaces left by, say, read­ing the weather signs or man­ag­ing the work­ers or the animals.
...
But the argu­ment about atten­tion here is that atten­tion is a constant–it just directs itself, when freed, to whatever’s avail­able. The arrival of online archives gives us “sur­plus atten­tion.” What do we do with our­selves now that the time required for basic research has been (in many cases) so dras­ti­cally reduced?

I visited the Ritblat Gallery at the British Library in October which contains a wide variety of original manuscripts and other material on permanent display. It is well worth the trip and in this article Andrew Motion, chairman of the Booker Committee takes us on a tour (IL):

The gallery is easy to take for granted. Compared with the visual arts, the thrill and beauty of manuscripts are not widely celebrated, but this single mid-sized room, with its black walls, lowered lights and atmosphere of something approaching reverence, is one of the world’s great treasure-troves. It is a place of delight as well as learning, and of astonishment as well as understanding. Whenever I have a group of students, I insist that they come here: it’s an Eng Lit version of the geography field trip.

Some parts of the collection are on permanent display—the material relating to Lewis Carroll and the “Alice” books, and the manuscripts of several songs by the Beatles. These songs are as good a place to start as any, as they abolish any idea that displays of this sort are somehow dusty, or of narrow academic interest. The Beatles’ music and words continue to live in the world as few other kinds of writing have ever managed to do. Yet their composition, judging by the evidence here, depended on a similar blend of luck and labour. Paul McCartney’s “Michelle” turns out to be based on a tune he first tried to get down when he was at school, “in an attempt”, the label says, “to write a French-sounding song at the time when the bohemian Parisian Left Bank was a fashionable influence on art students”. Several years later John Lennon suggested that if Paul wanted it to sound French, he’d better use some French words—hence “ma belle” and so on. It was hardly Proust, but it did the trick, and the song was included on “Rubber Soul”. It became the only Beatles track to be named Song of the Year at the Grammys.

Anne Enright in The Guardian looks at the Irish short story and tries to fathom why they are so good at it (Guardian):

Perhaps Irish writers, like Irish actors, rely more than is usual on personality in that balance of technique and the self that is the secret of style. The trick might be in its suppression, indeed, an effort that must fail, over time. John Banville, Edna O'Brien, McGahern, Tóibín – these writers become more distinctive as people, even as their sentences become more distinctively their own. It is a jealous kind of delight to find on the page some inimicable thing, a particular passion, and if the writer is dead, it is delightful and sad to meet a sensibility that will not pass this way again. The shock of recognition runs through this anthology. As much as possible I have tried to choose those stories in which a writer is most himself. A writer has many selves, of course, and an editor has many and mixed criteria – some of them urgent, as I have described, and some more easy. The selection is from writers who were born in the 20th century (cheating a little for Elizabeth Bowen, who was born in 1899); I wanted to put together a book that was varied and good to read, with a strong eye to the contemporary.

Audio books are on the upswing in the UK as reported by the Independent:

According to the most recent sales figures from the Publishers Association, downloads of audio books grew by 72 per cent between 2008 and 2009. Sales of talking books on CD, cassette and DVD also grew to an annual £22.4m, according to the sales monitoring company Nielsen BookScan.

It all began very differently. Exactly 75 years ago today, audio books were first produced as a public service for soldiers blinded in the First World War. The Talking Books Service, an audio library run by the Royal National Institute of Blind People, was launched in 1935, when Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was recorded on to LPs and distributed to users, along with a large record player. Modern technology – particularly MP3 players – and a growing roster of high-profile narrators, have given the format a dramatic boost.

From the WaPo: Textbook rental programs offer no relief to rising textbook prices (WaPo):

In the end, students will decide how they get their textbooks - and they have an ever-expanding galaxy of choices. They can buy them new, shrink-wrapped at campus stores. They can search online for discounted used copies at numerous websites like Amazon.com or Bigwords.com. They can download them to their computers or rent them - from their campus bookstore, from online websites and even the publishers themselves. Two of the largest bookstore operators, Barnes & Noble and Follett Higher Education Group, have spent millions to build their own Internet rental portals in the face of competition from websites, stocking up on inventory and developing tracking software. Yet for all of the innovation from digital media and the Internet, prices are still set by publishers, who market directly to faculty. Faculty, in turn, decide titles for study, often without considering cover prices. That means students are still paying hundreds of dollars each semester.

For entertainment value alone the controversy over Cooks Source lifting a blogger's article was enough to keep your attention and to get an idea cast your eye over their facebook page to see how the internets are taking to it. Far afield the Sydney Morning Herald takes a bash at explaining it (SMH):

That's what Cooks Source was relying on. The New England-based bottom feeder lifted Gaudio's piece, gave it a few tweaks, and reprinted it as new copy without attribution. Exactly the same sin of plagiarism for which Helen Darville/Demidenko was finally run out of publishing about 10 years ago.

When Gaudio discovered the theft –for that's what it was, not inadvertent borrowing, or sub editing error, her work was stolen– she contacted the editor of Cooks Source, Judith Griggs, asking for a correction and an apology. As a show of good faith, just to prove she wasn't some sort of egomaniac greed head, she asked the magazine to make a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism rather than to pay her.

Some of you will already be aware of what happened next. Griggs sent a frankly amazing e-mail, full of legal errors, claiming the Internet to be entirely public domain, a place where copyright did not apply, and told the freelancer she should be happy the magazine didn't lift the entire article before putting somebodyelse's name on it. In a deliciously droll passage which was either completely clueless, or shaded with cartoon villainy, the Cooks Source editor informed Gaudio that this was standard practice online and happens "clearly more than you are aware of".

From the twitter (@personanondata) this week:

British Library hints at videogame archiving plan Grand Theft Cataloging..

JSTOR and Serials Solutions Partner to Enhance Discoverability of Resources Nov. 4, 2010

Online Learning Is Growing on Campus - Bricks and Mortar a thing of the past?

Times's paywall figures don't add up to a new business model


And in sports, Jenson Button is welcomed to Sao Paulo (Independent)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Repost: There are Libraries and there are Libraries

Originally posted on October 10, 2006

We get loads of magazines here at PND Central mainly because my bequeathed is an interior designer and needs them for 'research'. I always find myself looking at these pictures of living rooms and focusing on the bookshelves pictured to identify the books these people have purchased. There is actually a spread in the current (November) House and Garden (US) showing the libraries of selected rich people which is great food for my curiosity. Rather than an opportunity to discuss how these books add to the quality of life of these people or indeed what part the collection of books plays in their lives the spread is about clothes and jewelry. Fits entirely with a magazine that is supposed to represent 'design for the well lived life'.

The pictures of the libraries themselves are naturally attractive and they do represent a spectrum. One library is over 3,000 books (but only a small portion are shown) and another seems suspiciously lacking in said critical element. Perhaps in this case the appellation 'library' is simply affectation. In addition to this spread there are also a few pages with some library furniture including a gorgeous book stand and library ladder. I wish I could link to the pages.

I would love to have a designated library with enough room for our current collection and expansion space. My wife has a large collection of large format design and garden books and has run out of space such that the titles now pile under her desk. This is not a way to treat these wonderful items. We have plans to own a house where we can designate a true library - free of TV and with some of the types of furniture House and Garden might advertise.

Mrs PND and I have different philosophies on organizing the books as well. I like to group my authors and use some rudimentary dewey decimal system but she on the otherhand has no organization. She has her side and I have mine. We share a check book but not the book shelves. (Since I was a child I always retained my own collection and did not mix my books with my family either). In the next several years we both plan to become more methodical about how and what we collect while we still retaining the joy of reading.

Looking at the titles that people have in their collections - via my close views of house magazines and books - does give me some insight into who the people might be. I think the most curious pictures are those that cover vast houses of immense expense and lavish wall art but few books. Often what books these people have are one notable best seller per year for the past ten years as though this was all they could manage. Table tops are often covered with art books which look like they were placed by the photographer. A dead give-away is when the same books are in different shots. Thankfully, rarely do you see books with the dust covers removed: "tell the client to toss all the dust jackets," was the advice my wife was once given by her mentor. That just horrifies me.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fishing off Hoboken: 1992

Fishing off Hoboken: 1992
A weekly image from my archive. Click on the image to make it larger.

Technically off limits this small pier below Stevens University was a frequent location for fishermen before the waterfront was opened up to the public. Ordinarily the better view from this perspective is directly forward where lower Manhattan spreads out down the river rather than this view looking downward. I've a lot of the former images as well but on this particular day this perspective was more interesting.

Join me on Flickr

Fake Reviews: Does Amazon have a sense of Humor?

Take a look at how numerous Amazon reviewers have taken the time to write reviews for a book that is either a test page (why Amazon would be doing that at this stage is questionable) or the metadata is someone's idea of a sick bibliographic joke. Since the record appears on other booksellers web pages it may be the latter. Anyway the reviews are funny and in case the page is removed here are images:

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NetGalley Announce Hachette Digital Galley Program

One of my favorite new technology companies Net Galley has announced a new client agreement with Hachette to deliver their digital galleys. Here is the press release:

Hachette Book Group announced today that they will use NetGalley to distribute digital galleys and digital press kits (including video, audio, tour schedules, author Q&As, and photos) to reviewers, bloggers, media, booksellers, librarians, and educators.

Using NetGalley, HBG will be able to share secure, text-searchable, full-color digital galleys, which the reader can download onto a variety of devices, including Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo Reader, and the user’s desktop.

Distributing galleys and marketing material through NetGalley is a faster, more efficient, and environmentally conscious method of sharing content. HBG looks to expand its reach into the reviewer and blogger community, delivering digital galleys to their own extensive contact lists, as well as NetGalley’s network of readers who are both hungry for books and embracing the technology—and ease and speed of delivery – that this new platform offers.

NetGalley’s membership currently numbers 12,000 “professional readers.” Readers can register and use the site for free at www.netgalley.com. HBG’s launch catalog on NetGalley includes new titles from Brad Meltzer, Lawrence Block, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Darren Shan, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Don Winslow, Michael Koryta, Tom Holt and Nic Sheff.

The catalog will expand in the coming months but the current title list is here.
More on NetGalley

When is a standard not standard practice?

Forty years ago something remarkable happened in the UK publishing world. The Standard Book Number (SBN) was defined on the basis that it was better to cooperate across the supply chain than not. That booksellers, wholesalers, publishers and associated agencies all came together in agreement on something so mundane and wonky seems anachronistic, yet these UK visionaries established one of the most successful standards implementations in any industry.

The primary business driver of this effort was explained in the original paper written by Professor F.G. Foster, specifying the requirements of the SBN:

“By a Standard Number for a book title is meant a number which is made known to, and may be used by, all concerned with order processing operations involving that title. The number is then an identifying code for that title throughout its life, and it does not change. The Standard Number can be used, for example, by wholesalers or institutional suppliers in all their operations. Publishers will appreciate the advantages in arranging that their titles have Standard Numbers so that orders involving these titles can be processed more quickly and efficiently.

The general adoption of Standard Numbering by U.K. publishers will mean that instead of the trade having to cope with a proliferation of incompatibly numbered publishers' lists (with the possibility of the same number appearing on different lists to indicate different titles) there will be created a single register of all titles, and their Standard Numbers will be made readily available to all who require to use them.[1]

So imperative did the UK industry believe to be the SBN implementation that they initially forsook international acceptance. In the UK, the bibliographic agency John Whitaker & Sons was given the task of administering the SBN and, in the early 1970s, the US agency R.R. Bowker was invited to join in an international implementation of the standard. Thus, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was born.

In the intervening 40 years, the ISBN has served us exceptionally well. Most publishing operations from book ordering to royalty processing to best-seller lists, couldn’t function today without the ISBN. The objective of managing operations efficiently across the supply chain from agents to publishers to booksellers has been achieved and, while this success is exemplary and has been achieved with a very light hand by the international agency that manages the standard, the publishing industry is now undergoing such change that even the ISBN may be straining to adapt.

As the publishing industry migrates to an electronic content, world publishers and retailers have been asking whether ISBN can accommodate the changes in process, product and placement. In the application of ISBN numbers to eBook content the international agency has formulated a policy – applied to all ISBN countries and agencies – that requires a distinct ISBN be applied to each format of an eBook made available to the trade. This policy requires that a publisher placing a pdf, mobipocket, or ePub version of a title into the supply chain must apply separate ISBNs to each ‘product’.

In the sometimes arcane world of standards discussions can sometimes get heated and this policy has generated strong opinions on both sides of the argument. Some publishers agree in practice with the International ISBN’s requirements and some publishers do not. Those who do not are typically applying their eBook ISBN to only one file (often the ePub file).

As noted, the ISBN policy is consistent with past practice that called for the application of a separate ISBN to the hard cover, large print, library edition and so on. The specific eBook requirement dates to revision to the entire ISBN standard approximately five years ago. The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) recently commissioned a study to review current practice and opinion from supply chain partners on this eBook ISBN issue and the study is expected to be completed by the middle of November. Out of the study, BISG expects to develop a policy statement that addresses the objectives of the International ISBN community while representing the realities of the US marketplace.

This article first appeared in Foreword Magazine.

As you may know I am conducting the study for BISG and I am condensing my interviews into a findings report. I've conducted over 50 interviews with more than 70 people across the supply chain and thus should have an excellent perspective on what is current practice.


[1] F.G. Foster: http://www.informaticsdevelopmentinstitute.net/isbn.html

Monday, November 01, 2010

Edelweiss Incorporates Goodreads "Shelf Counts" in Title Buzz Tracking

Above the Treeline is pleased to announce the addition of the Goodreads shelf count to the buzz tracking tools within Edelweiss, its market-leading online publisher catalog service. In addition to the newly added Goodreads data, Edelweiss provides Twitter and blog tracking so that book professionals using Edelweiss can easily see which titles have online activity and can quickly view the relevant information. Similar to the other buzz tracking tools in Edelweiss, the Goodreads indicator will contain a link to the title page on the Goodreads site so that users can see full Goodreads information for a selected title.

Goodreads is an online community of more than 4.1 million book lovers and casual readers who are able to assign titles to personal shelves, such as "to-read", "currently-reading", "read" and other custom shelves. By integrating this aggregated information into Edelweiss, book professionals such as booksellers, sales reps, publicists, librarians, and media will be able to see which titles have the most energy and excitement from the Goodreads community, as expressed through the overall shelf count.

"Goodreads is the world's largest social network for readers and we're really excited to be providing Edelweiss users with this information to help them to gauge which new titles are generating the most excitement from readers," said Treeline CEO John Rubin. "As with our Twitter and blog tracking, we think this will become another key piece of information within Edelweiss to support marketing efforts and buying decisions."

The image below is an example of the Edelweiss title detail page with the Goodreads buzz meter. Click on the image to go to the page within Edelweiss.