Book 'Em

Columbia Journalism Review • 2 October 2013

On demand. Columbia University professor Dennis Tenen is investigating the causes and strategies behind international content piracy. Calling his piracy.lab "a scrappy little outfit," Tenen's research focuses on the "underground libraries" that have sprung up in Eastern Europe and Asia to make hundreds of thousands of texts available online. Read on to learn about how understanding more about the supply and demand for pirated content can benefit legal publishers and university libraries.

Here's one of those "libraries." Library Genesis1M. Yeesh. (Michalko)

3 Tools to Break Through the Noise

SkipPrichard • 30 September 2013

Story time. This engaging interview with branding and marketing expert Jonah Sachs lays out the dos and don'ts of viral marketing campaigns. Sachs emphasizes the power of stories that focus on the consumer: "Instead of just talking about how great they are, brand campaigns that break through tend to talk about how great their audiences can be." Read on for more on the five major marketing mistakes, and how incorporating rags-to-riches, rebel-with-a-cause or we're-all-in-this-together story elements can help your message resonate with recipients.

I like Sachs' trope about there being three categories of compelling stories—freaks, cheats, and familiars. In the freak category—pauper to prince, orphan to business tycoon, etc.—libraries are wealthy. We have dozens of great empowerment stories to use in marketing our brand. (And by the way, this isn't a sycophantic inclusion if it's actually good . . . ) (Michalko)

The Travels of a Head

Savage Minds Backup • 30 September 2013

Exhibition etiquette. University of York archeologist Sara Perry uses the example of a donated head to ponder the delicate balance between spectacle and edification when it comes to exhibiting human remains. Read on for a thoughtful essay on the ethics and commoditization of body parts displays.

My favorite part of this story is where the accession number wound up. The essay made me think of those exhibitions of human bodies stripped of their skin—I've never attended one but I understand they are the occasion for some ethical debate. (Michalko)

Who's Afraid of Peer Review?

Science • October 2013

Ouch. Science journalist John Bohannon reveals a serious flaw in open access scientific journal review protocols after executing a one-man sting operation. Bohannon recounts his experiences in successfully peddling an obviously phony scientific paper, calling the lack of rigorous peer review an "emerging Wild West in academic publishing." Read on for an eye-popping exposé of the dark underbelly of open access online publishing, driven by greed, desperation and just plain laziness.

Where there are dollars to be made, the scam artists will appear. This experiment shows that a significant piece of the open access infrastructure is just vanity publishing (with possible consequences to scientific progress). Witness the academic paper market (described in this Economist article) that has grown so large in China. (Michalko)

How to Make Your Own Luck

Brain Pickings • 1 October 2013

No regrets. Maria Popova's blog on changing habits, channeling creativity and overcoming failure is a primer on personal introspection and private inspiration. By the time you finish reading, you'll be primed to tackle your most dreaded project—with enthusiasm.

A particularly nice synthesis from the this master of the form. Learn about impact bias and the uncertainty curve. And then link over to a reference in this article—How We Spend Our Days Is How We Spend Our Lives: Annie Dillard on Presence Over Productivity. (Michalko)

The Abomination of Ebooks: They Price People Out of Reading

Wired • 2 October 2013

E is for extortion. Library advocate Art Brodsky takes e-tailers to task for predatory pricing policies when it comes to libraries. As libraries struggle to find a sane solution to the e-publishing equation, Brodsky's commentary sums up the problem of how licensing vs. ownership affects the borrowing public.

I like his characterization of this being destruction without any of the creative benefits. I also agree that our vocabulary contributes to our undoing—we didn't buy an e-book, we leased some digital text. (Michalko)

The Myth of the Brainstorming Session • 7 October 2013

Take your time. The weaknesses inherent in brainstorming—once considered an essential first step for creative innovation—include individual fear of judgment, over-focus on extroverts and group aversion to scary ideas. But innovator Mikael Cho points out that the major failure of brainstorming is the expectation that each session ends with a definitive conclusion. Read on for Cho's thoughts on tweaking the rules to expand the process and reap the benefits of idea incubation.

I continue to enjoy people who beat up on brainstorming. It always seemed to me that there was no way to follow both of the principal rules—some thoughts are just moronic and should be smothered in your own head. It's not a Parking Lot. It's a Cemetery. There's always a moment when I'd like to be Dogbert. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what program allows you to set Batch Holdings in OCLC, batch upload/edit records into WorldCat and search WorldCat directly?

Get the answer.