Posts for the Weekend

Cherry blossom festival

This photo was taken last year in D.C., when the cherry blossom festival was in full swing. Here, it’s supposed to get to 50 today.  I can’t wait. [On edit: it was warm, it was sunny, it was delightful.]

I had a strange but vivid dream last night where Hermione Granger – the character from Harry Potter, not the actress who plays her – wanted me to write a blog post about her return to witchcraft after retirement. I had written it all up on my smart phone and everything. I’ve never actually read the Harry Potter books, by the way.


For this weekend, may I interest you in:

  • As a follow-up to my last post re: academic publishing: Marie S. Newman, Out of the Jungle, The Sorry State of Academic Publishing. Written in response to this article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (subscription required), which posits that the state of academic publishing is deplorable, and that academic libraries need to “step into the breach,” using as an example, “the University of Michigan which merged its press and its library two years ago; it pledged to ‘publish all future books online, free of charge.'” Interesting ideas. Obviously you’d most likely have to be a library that is a part of a large institution, in order to expend these kinds of costs. Although even large institutions aren’t exactly flush with cash right now, are they?
  • In the “Privacy” category (I thought I had a bunch of privacy posts market the last couple of days to share, but it turned out most of them were April Fools’ jokes): Mike Melanson, ReadWriteWeb, Is Publicly Sharing Your Location Creepy? This App Thinks So. Melanson concludes that he’s still going to share his geo-tagged information, even though there are apps out there that aggregate it for the world. My question is, regardless of the common sense aspects of this level of sharing, what is the benefit of this level of sharing? Why do you think other people care (she says, as she posts to her blog)? “If you have bad relationships with your exes or lawyers coming after you for bills, you might not want to live so publicly,” says Melanson, but even if these things aren’t the case, why bother with this level of over-sharing? To be fair, Melanson does talk about some instances where the location information has aided police or others, but in general, I’m not sure most people care exactly where everybody else is, every second of the day.
  • Ann Levin, AP (via ABC News), New Book Asks Whether Literature Still Matters. Well, I certainly hope so.
  • Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times, Virginians share fragile relics for Civil War’s 150th anniversary. How cool: “Archivists are visiting 129 cities and towns across Virginia to digitally scan long-hidden journals, letters, maps and other Civil War records into an online database before they disappear forever.” Although a lot of the things I’ve read about the sesquicentennial have been a little bizarre (underlining, as Drogin says here, the emphasis on states’ rights, rather than slavery), digital archives of this sort sound really interesting to me. “The goal is to shed new light on the home front as well as the front line.” It would be nice if they include materials from slaves, but I suppose that sort of thing might be harder to come by.

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