December 2, 2013
I’d like to take a moment to tell you about a very interesting non-library project that I have been working on with my old friend Ian Stoba. A while ago I had the idea of putting digital signs in public places that people could put messages on over the internet. Ian has great coding skills and loves creative projects, so I invited him to work on it with me. We found a location for an initial sign project, bought a digital sign and a Raspberry Pi to control it, and got it working. The sign is on the wall inside a hip gourmet donut shop in Sacramento called Doughbot. You can actually put a message on the sign by going here. We don’t have a webcam pointed at the sign presently, so you have to either trust us or be in the shop to see the actual message. We have a blog to inform people about what we are doing with the project. We also have a Facebook page for it.
Here is the sign on the wall of the donut shop:
September 26, 2013
Malise Ruthven, frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, wrote the preface to the recent Litwin Books publication, Voltaire’s Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet: A New Translation. His preface is titled Voltaire and Islam, and provides an insightful picture of the great 18th century liberal’s relationship with the religion of the region Europe called “the Orient.”
Voltaire’s play has been translated into English several times, but this prose translation is less archaic-sounding, and captures the intensity of the melodramatic passions among the characters. The play itself is an enjoyable, light read. Ruthven’s preface and the translator’s introduction, which focuses on the reception that the play received among contemporaries and how it was viewed by later critics, illuminate some of the background to the way Islam is understood in the West.
August 31, 2013
Voltaire’s Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet:
A New Translation
Translation and Introduction: Hanna Burton
Preface: Malise Ruthven
Published: September 2013
Printed on acid-free paper.
Voltaire’s play Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet was controversial in its own day, and has stirred up controversy in recent decades as attempts to mount stage productions have been met with protests. Originally intended as an oblique criticism of the Catholic Church and religious fanaticism in general (as Voltaire understood it), the play stands today as an entertaining melodrama marked by gleeful irreverance and historical imagination. This new prose translation into English by Hanna Burton brings the text to modern English-speaking audiences. The translator’s extensive introduction sheds light on the history of the work and its reception by Voltaire’s contemporaries.
August 9, 2013
There is a Facebook group that will serve as the start of a network for librarians with philosophy backgrounds. It is called Philosopher Librarians. Join if this description works for you:
Welcome, librarians who have degrees in philosophy, whether they be undergraduate degrees, masters degrees, or phds. We’re here because of what we have in common, and perhaps also to plan an event. Interested in the philosophy of libraries? The philosophy of information? Collection development for philosophy departments? Quirky things that only philosopher-librarians say? We’re a different breed; here is the place where we can speak our language. The group is also open to people who just know they belong here.
I am hoping that we will build enough of a network to have a luncheon at ALA, perhaps with a speaker and the announcement of an award winner.
June 19, 2013
This great response to an illegitimate takedown notice is going around on Facebook. It’s funny because of how it shows just how unjust these robo-generated takedown notices can be, but it also reveals a problem that deserves serious discussion. These kind of takedown notices go out by the thousands, and not many people who receive them have access to a pro-bono attorney who can respond in this way. As far as I am aware, there is no system of monitoring and penalties for companies that abuse the law by intimidating people with baseless legal threats like this. I would love it if someone with more knowledge of the relevant law and the relevant aspects of the legal system would take this up, and comment here informatively, if not actually try to do something about this problem.
May 13, 2013
May 11, 2013
Just a note to say that Library Juice is on Pinterest. Please feel free to enjoy our content!
February 9, 2013
February 3, 2013
This is a good superbowl bet. The Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore and the San Francisco Public Library have a good bet going on the outcome of today’s game:
Pratt Library vs. San Francisco Public Library: Two Great Libraries, One Great Super Bowl Bet
August 13, 2012
Have you ever noticed that some people close their email messages with a mysterious capital J? It is not a secret code. Chris Jean has this most welcome explanation.
July 28, 2012
Auslander & Fox, Litwin Books’ imprint for general readers (i.e. not academic titles), has just published its first novel: Walt, by Ian Stoba. Walt is a wildly fun read that is over too quickly, and features a simple lobster fisherman from Tristan de Cunha, who hears unfamiliar music in his head that leads him to set out to sea in a rowboat, on a journey that leads him to San Francisco, where his adventures become truly strange.
Obviously, this is not a book about library and information science, but I am promoting it here because it is our publication, and what they said about Jack being a dull boy.
I hope some of our readers will pick up this book and enjoy it…
June 22, 2012
So glad that Anna Heim is helping us out at our booth at ALA Annual this year…
January 7, 2012
A site set up by tricky spammers, potentially useful in information literacy instruction: “CNBC” report on “income at home system.”
Litwin Books, LLC is starting a new imprint. Auslander & Fox will publish “books with originality, wit, and perspective,” for a general audience. Publications coming up include a children’s book with a message about television, a fun coffeetable and reference book about nationalist and secessionist movements, and a new translation of a controversial play by Voltaire. For news you can follow via Facebook or Twitter (@AuslanderFox).
November 26, 2011
I want to share a fascinating resource I found: the Google Books corpus of American English, 155 billion words in size. Obviously too big to download, so for analysis purposes you’re limited to what you can do via the website at Brigham Young University. The easy thing to do is type in a word or phrase and see its frequency by decade, going back to the 1810s. Want to know when the phrase “Think Outside the Box” first appeared in a book? You can get a pretty good idea through this resource. Would you have guessed that the word “originary” goes back to the 1820s, if not farther? I wouldn’t have. The interface allows you to look for collocates (words that go with other words), view charts showing relative word frequency in the corpus by decade, handles parts of speech, and gives you various limits and display options. Other kinds of analysis that might be done with text corpora can’t be done through the interface. Their Corpus of Contemporary American English allows more sophisticated querying. BYU has several other language corpora available online in this format. Fun with words!!