Sunday, June 26, 2011

MediaWeek (V4, N26): Books In Print, Journal Publishing, Joyce, Education and Technology, Area 51 and more.

Sam Andersen in the NY Times is stopped cold by an actual book (NYT):

The book was the The World Almanac and Book of Facts, an iconic yellow slab of lists and stats and graphs that has been, for the last century or so, holy scripture to the culture’s various ministers of information: journalists, writers of elementary-school reports, know-it-all uncles, “Jeopardy!” contestants. It promises to deliver, at the speed of print, all the world’s most important facts: the state bird of Oklahoma (the scissor-tailed flycatcher); the year Euripides was born (484 B.C.); the phone number for Gamblers Anonymous (213-386-8789); the major industries of Guyana (bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining). It is, in other words, basically the analog Internet — the Ghost of Search Engines Past.

Over the last decade, the almanac has been superseded, thoroughly, on just about every front. I’d assumed it had died, years ago, in the mass extinction that brought down (or mortally wounded) all of its informational cousins: the encyclopedia, the phone book, the printed dictionary, the classified ad, the paper road map and even the bookstore itself.

In this day and age, with the almost limitless ability to publish additional and related material, some journal publishers continue to cling to antiquated and out of touch editorial polices (NYT):

In March, for instance, Daryl Bem, a psychologist at Cornell University, shocked his colleagues by publishing a paper in a leading scientific journal, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in which he presented the results of experiments showing, he claimed, that people’s minds could be influenced by events in the future, as if they were clairvoyant. Three teams of scientists promptly tried to replicate his results. All three teams failed. All three teams wrote up their results and submitted them to The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

And all three teams were rejected — but not because their results were flawed. As the journal’s editor, Eliot Smith, explained to The Psychologist, a British publication, the journal has a longstanding policy of not publishing replication studies. “This policy is not new and is not unique to this journal,” he said.

As a result, the original study stands.

From Intelligent Life, Frank Delaney is trying to decipher James Joyce (IL):

Delaney—an Irish broadcaster and author based in New York—admits that as a young man he found "Ulysses" unreadable. But as the centenary of Joyce’s birth approached in 1982, he felt increasingly embarrassed by his failure to get through it. "I began to read it aloud, and it started to make sense—because it’s not a novel, it’s a prose poem." He went on to write a bestselling book about Joyce’s Dublin, after which Joyce became "a resident guest in my mind". He has now read "Ulysses" six times.

With his rich Irish intonation and palpable enthusiasm, he makes an ideal guide. The book, he declares, is one of the pleasures of life: "a vast, entertaining, funny, absorbing, exciting, complex, immensely enjoyable novel. A book to get lost in." It is also a book to listen to: "Joyce was a singer—he had a beautiful tenor voice—so he understood writing for the ear. In 'Ulysses' you can hear how he slips from one thought to another, which is fascinating."

From Inside Higher Ed a look at why educational publishers and small EdTech companies need each other (IHE):

In the next 2 years we will see an acceleration of investments and purchases in the edtech startup and edtech small company (revenues <=$20 million a year) space by the likes of Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Cengage.

Unsubstantiated dross: Why do publishers keep publishing this stuff. A review of Area 51 and I saw did see the interview on John Stewart and he seemed genuinely taken with the book (or maybe he's crazy) New Statesman:

But I speak too soon. It was all going so well, right up until page 370, when we are told that that the aircraft which is supposed to have crashed in Roswell was - get this! - a Nazi flying saucer sent over by the Soviets to create a mass panic of alien invasion. But, wait! There's more. The pilots were in fact "biologically and/or surgically reengineered children" produced on the orders of Joseph Stalin by none other than - ta dah! - Joseph Mengele.

Ms Jacobsen is adamant that the source for her tall story is completely reliable. "This," she told CBS News, "is information that came to me from the source, who I absolutely believe (and) stand by. I've spoken with him since the book has been published...and what he said was that the child-sized aviators had been the byproduct of this horrific human experimentation program by Stalin, in collaboration with the doctor from Auschwitz, Dr. Joseph Mengele."

In the Observer Robert McCrum thinks there's no reason print and e can't happily coexist (Observer):

The brilliant simplicity of the book should be the equal of the latest technology. Reading a book on a screen is like enjoying wine intravenously. The book remains an aesthetic as well as a literary experience. Owning printed books may soon become synonymous with collecting them.

Richard Charkin, director of Bloomsbury, sees digitisation as an opportunity. "The publisher chooses the book and turns it into something better, publicises it, markets it, and collects the money. What happens in a digital world is identical to that. I am more optimistic about the future than I can express."

Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of The Tipping Point, is possibly a bellwether. What's his next project? Gladwell is working with his publisher to produce his oeuvre in a high-priced box set. "There's a market for Porsche and BMW or Toyota and Fiat," he says, "but not much in between. So it's Prada or H&M, ebooks or hardbacks. The book is alive and well, just a tad more exclusive. Perhaps it's the next big thing."

A Federal Judge takes issue with the proposed settlement of a case brought against West Publishing and Kaplan over test prep materials for the LSAT and calls the coupon idea "laughable". (Law):

A federal judge refused to sign off on a second settlement in the BAR/BRI antitrust litigation after objectors raised concerns that Kaplan Inc.'s portion of the deal involved coupons.

The deal would have settled claims by class members alleging that Kaplan and West Publishing Corp. conspired to monopolize the market for bar review courses. West Publishing owns BAR/BRI and Kaplan sells preparatory courses for the Law School Admission Test. Under the settlement, West would have paid $5.29 million in cash and Kaplan would have provided coupons worth $150 each toward the purchase of future course materials.

Darwin's notes and marginalia go on line and will be available to scholars to understand how (or if) he came up with the Origin of the Species (Daily Mail - not a paper I normally read mind you).

Darwin had 1,480 books in his library, of which 730 contain a wealth of scrawled notes, providing clues to his thoughts as he wrote On The Origin Of Species.
For example, his friend Charles Lyell wrote in his famous Principles Of Geology that there were definite limits to the variation of species.Darwin wrote alongside this: 'If this were true adios theory.'

Academics hope the digitisation project will allow everyone to retrace how Darwin used reading to advance science.

Anne Jarvis, librarian at Cambridge University, where most of the collection is held, said: 'The Darwin collections are among the most important and popular held within Cambridge University library.

'While there has been much focus on his manuscripts and correspondence, his library hasn't always received the attention it deserves - for it is as he engaged with the ideas and theories of others that his own thinking evolved.'
EBSCO Publishing and Elsevier Reach Agreement to Provide Full-Text Searching of All SciVerse ScienceDirect Journals & eBooks for EBSCO Discovery Service™ Customers (PRWeb):
Full text from SciVerse ScienceDirect is being added to EBSCO Discovery Service™ (EDS) thanks to a new agreement from Elsevier and EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO). ScienceDirect, part of the SciVerse suite of search and discovery products provided by Elsevier, is a leading full-text scientific database with journal articles and book chapters from more than 2,000 peer-reviewed journals and 20,000 books and major reference works. ScienceDirect currently includes more than 10.5 million articles and chapters with nearly 500,000 added every year.

Elsevier joins a growing list of publishers and other content partners that are taking part in EDS to bring more visibility to their content. Partners include the world’s largest scholarly journal & book publishers including Elsevier, Wiley Blackwell, Springer Science & Business Media, Taylor & Francis Informa, Sage Publications, and thousands of others. Partners also include content providers, such as LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters (Web of Science), JSTOR, ARTstor, Credo Reference, Oxford University Press, World Book, ABC-CLIO, and many others.
From the twitter this week:

Baker & Taylor and Barnes & Noble Partner to Build Library Access

Apax’s Cengage Buying National Geographic’s School Publisher -

Amazon reprints Ed McBain: Random House relaunches Loveswept:

What Big Media Can Learn From the New York Public Library -

In sports: Babe Didrikson Zaharias’s Legacy Fades (NYT)

No comments: