Archive for June, 2011

Micropublishing by academic libraries?

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Here’s a crowdsource request for knowledgeable academic librarians:

Do you know of an academic library that’s using micropublishing techniques by itself or in conjunction with the parent institution or one or more academic departments?


In this case, what I mean by “micropublishing” is using Lulu or CreateSpace to do the actual print (and, for Lulu, PDF) copies on order (as print-on-demand), handling the fulfillment side of book publishing.

One known example

I know of one example: the RIT Cary Graphics Arts Press at the Rochester Institute of Technology, run by the Cary Graphics Art Collection (part of the RIT libraries). So far, it’s done 14 publications available via Lulu, including some downloadable/PDF books, an ebook and a calendar–and one issue (so far) of a gold OA journal.

If you know of another example of a “virtual university press” using Lulu or CreateSpace, I’d love to know.


The book I’m working on for Information Today Inc., currently titled “The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing: Helping Patrons and Communities Use Free and Low-Cost Publishing Tools to Tell Their Stories,” is both a why-to and how-to book, aimed primarily at public libraries, with their hundreds of thousands (more likely millions) of patrons who have family histories, genealogies, reminiscences, local histories, and a wild variety of other would-be books that aren’t expected to sell more than five to 50 copies.

One chapter is aimed specifically at academic libraries, dealing mostly with the “provide an issue or annual print version of your e-only OA journal for the handful of libraries and scholars who want it that way” possibilities–I’d guess there are at least dozens if not hundreds of journals doing this–but also with the other case. Having one real example is wonderful; having two or three would be even better.

Let me know

If you know of one–or of a library that’s considering this–I’d love to know about it, preferably by July 1, 2001 2011 (since I’ll be doing the final editorial pass during July). The name of the press or a URL (e.g., the Lulu store URL) would be enough…



ALA Annual brief musings

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Yes, I’m New Orleans-bound in just about two weeks–actually a red-eye Thursday night, June 23, arriving NOLA Friday morning, June 24.

I’ll be there through Sunday evening; early Monday flight back.

So far, my schedule’s very loose–which is to say, so far I haven’t made up a schedule. Lots of exhibit time, probably a couple of programs, and with luck catching up with some folks and reminding me why it’s still worth going…if it is.


I’m open to suggestions….programs I’d particularly enjoy, receptions I should not miss (and can plausibly attend), get-togethers of one sort or another.

The fledgling 10th anniversary celebration for Cites & Insights is clearly a non-starter, since other than one person offering to help find a location, nobody expressed any interest in a get-together. And I’m not quite ready for a C&I wake just yet.

I’ll start putting together some schedule possibilities this weekend or early next week.

I know blog activity has been lax and rarely library-related for a month or so. I’m working on revisions to my micropublishing book…and beyond that (and more reading than I’d expect), there’s not a lot to say.

ALA, Annual and Midwinter, has almost always been energizing in the past–seeing lots of folks I only see once or twice a year, getting a feel for the profession, all that. I hope it will be that way in New Orleans as well. I could use some energizing…

Suggestions welcome, via email or comments.

Comedy Kings 50 Movie Pack, Disc 4

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

The Admiral was a Lady, 1950, b&w. Albert S. Rogell (dir.), Edmond O’Brien, Wanda Hendrix, Rudy Vallee, Johnny Sands, Steve Brodie, Richard Erdman, Hillary Brooke. 1:27.

A post-WWII romantic comedy with a little screwball comedy added in, and an absolute charmer. “The Admiral” is four vets’ nickname for a returned WAVE (Hendrix) after they all meet in an unemployment-insurance line. The four guys are dedicated to not finding jobs and living well without spending money—they work really hard at not working in style. The woman has been waiting for her fiancée to return, but now finds he’s not coming—so she’s heading home for Walla Walla.

It gets more complicated. The leader of the four (O’Brien) gets a phone call threatening promising a job for him and the others—unless he makes sure the girl stays in town. It has something to do with her fiancée and a juke box tycoon’s twice ex-wife who he wants back. Things go on from there. We eventually find out why the leader’s so intent on keeping the four together. All ends reasonably well. Hendrix is an absolute charmer, O’Brien is handsome and funny, Rudy Vallee (the jukebox king) is quite wonderful, and it’s all funny and well played. One of the best old movies I’ve seen in quite some time. $2.00.

His Double Life, 1933, b&w. Arthur Hopkins (dir.), Roland Young, Lillian Gish, Montagu Love, Lumsden Hare, Lucy Beaumont. 1:08.

A charming comedy, somewhat undone by heavy-handed direction. The setup: England’s foremost painter (Young) is an introvert, so much so that he’s spent years traveling around Europe with his valet to avoid the public—even his agent’s never seen him, and his first cousin hasn’t seen him since he was 12. But the valet’s also corresponding with a women (Gish) he “met” via a marriage/introduction service and would like to actually meet her—and convinces the painter that they could move back to their house in London and nobody would recognize him.

But when they arrive, the valet’s down with double pneumonia. The doctor arrives, assumes that the valet (who the painter’s put in the master bedroom) is the painter and vice-versa, announces him dead…and things go on from there, especially after the officious cousin arrives, regards the “valet” as an incompetent and shoos him away.

He winds up running into the young woman—who also assumes he’s the valet. As things progress (including the “painter” being buried in Westminster Abbey), she doesn’t much care who he is and assures him that between his modest bequest and her brewery shares, they’d be fine. They marry, and they are fine—and then he starts painting again, this time without signing the paintings. She sells the paintings to a framer for modest sums; he sells them, framed, to someone else for a substantial markup…and they wind up with the artist’s agent. That agent guarantees them to be genuine and sells them for many times as much to a collector…who gets a bit upset when he notes a date on the back of one that’s two years after the artist was buried. Oh, along the way, the valet appears to have walked out on his wife 25 years earlier—and she shows up, twin sons (both clergy) along, claiming that the artist (using the valet’s name) is clearly her long-lost husband.

All of which leads to a trial—the collector suing the agent for fraud, the agent (who found the earlier wife) claiming that the valet’s really the painter, a charge of bigamy…all eventually resolved thanks to two birthmarks.

It’s an interesting plot. Gish does a remarkable job as a wholly unflappable young woman who’s quite happy with her husband whether he’s a former valet or an artist. Young’s good also (I was thinking he reminded me of Cosmo Topper—and, indeed, he was Cosmo Topper). The problem? The trial is wildly overdone (with jurors acting as a chorus of sorts), other “messages” that should have been delivered once are delivered six times, and it’s all a bit heavy-handed. Even with that, it’s worth $1.50.

Boys of the City, 1940, b&w. Joseph H. Lewis (dir.), the usual Dead End Kids/East Side Kids (Bobby Jordan, Leo Gorcey, etc., etc.) 1:08 [1:00].

I gave it ten minutes. That was more than enough. Life really is too short to sit through yet another Dead End Kids/East Side Kids movie. The rave reviews on IMDB do not convince me otherwise.

Escape to Paradise, 1939, b&w. Erle C. Kenton (dir.), Bobby Breen, Kent Taylor, Marla Shelton, Rudolph Anders. 1:00.

Let’s see. The handsome son of a millionaire, on a cruise in South America, is hounded by one annoying young woman who regards him as her boyfriend…and manages to escape by zipping off with a young guide while ashore in “Rosarita” (certainly much darker and less interesting than the actual Rosarito, Mexico). After cutely meeting a beautiful young woman, he decides to stick around for the 21 days before the ship stops again on its way back…and gets involved in maté exporting as a way of meeting the girl again (don’t ask).

A local businessman who wants the girl for his own also wants to monopolize the mate trade and pay prices so low they’ll ruin the growers. One thing leads to another (including an amusing scene of workers unloading 200 bags of mate in the hero’s hotel room), and…well, happy ending and all that.

Except that it just doesn’t work. For one thing, the print’s lousy, sometimes so bad as to almost be unwatchable. For another, the mix of languages (in the obligatory musical numbers and conversation) is little short of bizarre. For a third, well, it just doesn’t work very well even as a light concoction. Charitably, $0.75.

Open Access book: Thoughtful review

Monday, June 6th, 2011

John Dupuis has a terrific new post at Confessions of a Science Librarian:

Reading Diary: Open Access: What You Need to Know Now by Walt Crawford

Tempted as I am to quote the whole thing, I won’t–after all, you really should click on the link above and read it on Dupuis’ blog.

I will quote part of it (oh, c’mon, you thought I could resist?):

Virtually every page had ah “Aha!” moment for me, a moment of recognition, of joy to see a point well made, a starting point for further reflection, a provocation, a point to remember next time I’m talking to faculty.

There were also some quibbles about this or that, maybe the order things could have been presented or minor things like that. But really, nothing substantial or anything that would affect the validity of the argument that Crawford makes.

Because, yes, this book is essentially an argument. The argument being that libraries and librarians should be at the forefront of promoting Open Access in the scholarly community and beyond. And, thanks to Crawford, we have the arguments for, “Here’s why!” gathered together in a convenient librarian-friendly package.

Crawford’s done the library world a huge service with this book and we are all in his debt.

So, how would I recommend this book. First of all, every single academic library should have this book in their collection. It will be a valuable primer for librarians for years to come, a great resources to get up to speed. Other libraries that support scholarship and research should also have a copy. Large public library systems could also use a copy.

He goes on to say “there is probably not a lot of reason for most librarians to buy a copy for themselves although I’m sure that many who see themselves as strongly tied to the movement might want a copy” and I honestly don’t see every librarian buying one (although I’d like to think hundreds or thousands would find it worthwhile).

Anyway, go read the review. Then, for you or your library (or both), go buy the book: Open Access: What You Need to Know Now. (ALA Store)


A post per month?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Recently on FriendFeed, I noted my tendency to avoid memes–in this case, two of them:

  1. An “ask me anything” meme happening on FriendFeed. I said that, if I wrote that, I would immediately disable comments on the note (which someone else had already done).
  2. The “blog every day in June” meme, which is apparently specific to Australia and New Zealand.

I didn’t buy into #1 because I’m a fairly private person.

I didn’t buy into #2 not because I couldn’t make it happen–heck, I write every day and, since I’m currently not working on Cites & Insights at all, it wouldn’t be difficult. I could just harvest my Diigo account and comment on one item a day: Easy.

Do I think #2 is a bad thing? Actually, I don’t. As a general rule, I think bloggers should post when they have something to say, not out of a sense of obligation–but in this specific case, at least, I’m seeing a number of blogs that had pretty much gone dormant and where it looks as though the writers do have something to say. If signing up for the post-each-day meme gets them back in the habit of posting now and then, that’s a good thing. Of course, if the blog has 30 posts in June and then 3 posts between July 1 and next May 31…well, what the heck, things happen.

Which is another way of saying…

That it’s been longer than I’d intended since the last substantive post here–that is, the last post that says something as a blog post. Just over a week, actually, since May 24–and May had fewer posts than any previous month in 2011.

I’m following a number of interesting library-related conversation, but haven’t felt the urge to contribute more than a sentence or two on FriendFeed to them. I’m thinking about ALA (but have not, in fact, prepared a draft schedule yet–and if anyone wants to get together during the limited time I’ll be there, from Friday morning through Sunday night, this would be a good time to let me know: waltcrawford at gmail dot com, as always).

And I’m engrossed in the book project. My wife and I had dinner last night with one of our best friends (an odd dinner: the place we’d decided to meet was closed for an enormous bocce-related fundraiser, so we wound up driving across town to another favorite restaurant we’d been neglecting because it was so noisy–and it was not at all noisy this time). We were talking about various things going on. I got into where this book stood and the topic as a whole (low-cost/no-cost micropublishing and library involvement in it). The friend noted that I seemed fairly passionate about the concept and that it seemed like a concept most libraries could/should use. I agreed, and thought that I need to make sure that passion is reflected in the second draft of the book–that I add enough “why” to balance out the “how” that’s central to the book.

Second draft?

Yep. That’s where much of my time has been going. The first draft is complete, as of finishing the draft glossary on Tuesday. “First draft,” the way I work, really means heavily-revised formatted book that will go through at least one major editing round before I submit it as a manuscript. I think this one’s important and something literally every public library and probably quite a few academic libraries will find worthwhile.

Later today or tomorrow, I’ll start in on the primary revision process. With gusto.

And, maybe, I’ll have something to post about–not this project, probably, but something else–next week, or at least something before ALA.

As for C&I? Not thinking about it for now. I’m not sure where yesterday’s spike in sessions came from (it seems to relate mostly to volume 9, issue 9, which is a bit mysterious).