Book Thing #38: Cyberbooks by Ben Bova

We’re going fictional again with this Month’s BookThing: Cyberbooks by Ben Bova.

From Amazon.com:

CyberbooksComputer genius Carl Lewis has invented the “Cyberbook”, an electronic device that instantly and inexpensively brings the written word to the masses. But not everyone warms to Carl’s ideas. Add corporate spies, authors threatening to strike, and a wave of mysterious murders, and you have Ben Bova at his best.

 

 

 

 

About the authors:

Ben BovaBorn in Philadelphia, Ben Bova worked as a newspaper reporter, a technical editor for Project Vanguard (the first American satellite program), and a science writer and marketing manager for Avco Everett Research Laboratory, before being appointed editor of Analog, one of the leading science fiction magazines, in 1971. After leaving Analog in 1978, he continued his editorial work in science fiction, serving as fiction editor of Omni for several years and editing a number of anthologies and lines of books, including the “Ben Bova Presents” series for Tor. He has won science fiction’s Hugo Award for Best Editor six times.

A published SF author from the late 1950s onward, Bova is one of the field’s leading writers of “hard SF,” science fiction based on plausible science and engineering. Among his dozens of novels are Millennium, The Kinsman Saga, Colony, Orion, Peacekeepers, Privateers, and the Voyagers series. Much of his recent work, including Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, The Precipice, and The Rock Rats, falls into the continuity he calls “The Grand Tour,” a large-scale saga of the near-future exploration and development of our solar system.

A President Emeritus of the National Space Society and a past president of Science-fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, in 2001 Dr. Bova was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He lives in Naples, Florida, with his wife, the well-known literary agent Barbara Bova.

To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #88: Zamzar

Zamzar logoThis month we’re going to take a look at a simple yet powerful tool. Once that you might not need every day, but will make you someone’s hero when you pull it out of your online toolbox: Zamzar

Public computers, or even staff computers, without the proper software to deal with certain files can be the bane of a library’s existence. So, what do you do when a patron comes in with a Works document and you don’t have anything to open it with?

Zamzar to the rescue!

Zamzar supports over 1200 different conversions – Video Converter, Audio Converter, Music Converter, eBook Converter, Image Converter, CAD Converter – THE multipurpose converter

At it’s most simple level all you need to do is upload the file, choose what format to convert it to, enter an e-mail address, and click convert. Once the conversion has finished, the submitted e-mail address will receive a message with a link to the converted file. (How long the conversion takes will vary, but it usually just takes a few minutes.)

Additionally, you can switch to the URL Converter tab, and instead of uploading a file, submit the URL of a file or Web page you wish to convert.

You do not need to sign up for an account, but if you do, you’ll be given the ability to convert larger files (up to 1GB instead of the free 100MB,) have them keep your converted files for a longer period of time, and be able to get back to those files easily without needing to keep the e-mail.

So, give it a shot. Find some files and convert them to other formats. Then let us know what you think of the service?

Assignment

  1. Pick a few files and convert them.
  2. Write a blog post about your experience. Some things to think about:
    1. How good were the conversions?
    2. How long did conversion take on average?
    3. Was there a situation in the past for which you wish you knew of this tool?
    4. Are you aware of other tools that perform a similar service? If so, how do they compare to Zamzar?
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Book Thing #37: Information Doesn’t Want to be Free by Cory Doctorow

This Month’s BookThing is Information Doesn’t Want to be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow.

From Amazon.com:

Information doesn't want to be free by cory doctorowIn sharply argued, fast-moving chapters, Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free takes on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today — about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them. An essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free offers a vivid guide to the ways creativity and the Internet interact today, and to what might be coming next.

 

About the authors:

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist, and blogger, as well as the coeditor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother and novels for adults including Rapture of the Nerds and Makers. The former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and cofounder of the U.K. Open Rights Group, he lives in London.

Amanda Palmer rose to fame as the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist for the acclaimed band The Dresden Dolls, and performs as a solo artist as well as collaborating with artists including Jonathan Richman and her husband, author Neil Gaiman. She is the author of The Art of Asking.

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books for readers of all ages, and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette for his story “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains.” Originally from England, he now lives in America.

To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be Cyberbooks by Ben Bova. (This one is out of print but there are about 75 used copies available on Amazon right now, so please plan ahead.)

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

Posted in BookThing | 1 Comment

Registration now open for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2015

Big Talk From Small Libraries is back!

Registration for the 2015 Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference is now open! Details can be found on the registration page.BigTalk2015

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2015 will be held on Friday, February 27, 2015 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service.

The schedule of presentations has not yet been set. We’re in the process of contacting presenters now, and we’ll have a schedule available for you soon.

More info about the online conference can be found on the event website.

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Thing #87: New Year’s Learning Resolutions

It’s a new year, and a great time to jump start your professional learning program.NYE-R2

For this month’s Thing, we’d like you to think about your personal professional development – what would you like to accomplish this year? And since it’s the start of a new year, we’ll make it official with a New Year’s Learning Resolution.

Keeping up with new tools, technologies and services is hard. It’s easy to get buried in work or life, and lose track of your goals.

Along with our other New Year’s resolutions, let’s reinvigorate our personal education plans. Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn, but have been putting off? Have you started learning about something new, but didn’t finish? Is there just a general area of study you’d like to investigate?

For myself, I’m going to work on learning how to code. I’ve tried to do it before, I’ve looked at places to learn online for free. But, I’ve never kept up with it or completed any course. So, this year, I will! I’m going to use Codacademy to accomplish my New Year’s Learning Resolution.

Codeacademy is a site full of free classes and exercises to teach different kinds of programming languages, like Javascript, Python, PHP and Ruby. I can also learn more about creating websites with HTML and CSS. They track your progress and offer badges to encourage you to continuing learning. I’m hoping those interactive features will help me stick to it this time.

So, what do you want to learn this year?

Assignment

1. There’s only one step to this month’s Thing – write a blog post telling us about your New Year’s Learning Resolution! :)

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