Library News

Before the News Dies…

The purported death of newspapers sure is taking a while, and in some ways seems like just another trendy lamentation. First there was ‘The Death of Rock.’ Then there was ‘The Death of Cinema’ (which has died hundreds of times). Now, the death of newspapers will apparently coincide with the death of the publishing industry. However, there also appears to be some frightful truth to this predicament. The New York Times recently announced that it may be closing the Boston Globe. It seems that people everywhere, even journalists, would rather write something for the internet than publish something on a physical piece of paper that one can carry with them. What a pity. (I might note here that I’m the pot calling the kettle black by posting all this on a blog).

If the newspaper does in fact die, then let’s take a moment to celebrate the wide variety of newspapers that Snell contains. They really are from all over the globe. You can read newspapers from different areas of the U.S, such as The Philadelphia Enquirer, or the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Or you can read newspapers from other countries, in other languages, such as Die Welt, from German, where you can find out that ‘Deutschland sucht neuen Wirtschaftsminister’ (Germany searches for a new Economic Advisor). Or you can read The Moscow Weekly News (which comes in an English edition), Le Monde, from France, or The India Reporter, from India. It is helpful to have this diverse array of newspapers, of course, for the foreign students who want to read news in their own language from their native country. But it is also beneficial for Americans, even one’s who do not know any foreign languages. You are not going to read in The Boston Globe, at least not in a detailed article, that Germany is choosing a new Economic Advisor. Perhaps facts like this are, or will be, more important than they seem. U.S news, including its newspapers, has always had an aversion to world news. The only place in this country to my mind you can hear comprehensive world news in on NPR radio. Many of these newspapers have English editions, if not in print, then online, so why not be informed? (It’s also worth noting that these papers do mention all the U.S news that is relevant)

Will newspapers die in this country? Will this death be a payback for a disregard for the rest of the world? Actually, there is no direct correlation. Newspapers are dying because of an economic crisis, the internet, plummeting sales and overall poor writing. But perhaps newspapers from other parts of the world will remain. At least for a little while.

How soon before library barcodes are on your cell phone?

Ars Technical reports that American Airlines will start rolling out cell phone boarding passes today at O’Hare international airport.  Instead of printing your boarding pass* you’ll get a barcode sent to your cell which you can bring to the airport. TSA can scan it and allow you to your gate–you’ll still need an ID, of course.  How soon before we can get a barcode on our cell phones for everything–supermarket key tags that get you the lower prices, and everything else including…library cards? *See “Why is Printing so Hard?” by Ed Felton, Princeton Professor and apparent leading candidate for Obama’s new Chief Technology Officer position.

Training videos

If you feel like you would like to learn about new web social networking sites–and how to use basic software–and you don’t want to go to a conference to learn, has great videos on basics or special applications using Second Life, Flikr, Audacity and around 40 others.  They may not be as good as ElementK, but they cover new technologies that ElementK may not have. The target audience is teachers and the focus is how to use these technologies to improve your teaching. Karen

Election Day! Go Vote!

Hi everyone — just wanted to remind you all to make sure you vote today! I won’t push my view on anyone, but this is what democracy is all about. Whoever your candidate is — make sure your voice is heard! 🙂 And if you’re interested in some good election and polling analysis, one place you can find it is