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26 January 2007

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 26 January


beer drinker

from Justin Wintle

"A thousand drinks with a true friend are not enough; half a sentence with an enemy is too much."

. . (102) Chinese

Encyclopedic Archives, Books and Image Libraries : Combinations Bigger than Google


Today Blogaulaire discovered two compendia tools being compiled and hosted at the University of Sherbrooke, here in Québec. The Bilan du Siècle and the Perspective Monde are searchable archives that are like textual and visual electronic encyclopedias. If I were a reference librarian working in Québec, I would have links to both on my desktop always at the ready.

Links to both sites are on the homepage of the Faculté des lettres et sciences.

Canada immigrants

A list of the images in the archives for Bilan du Siècle is HERE. You don't need your high school French to read images.

When you browse to Perspective Monde, notice the button at the top of the page for ENGLISH and you will access the micropedia sections that have been translated.

This brings me to the issue of digital libraries.

In the proper hands, it is fantastic to have documents available in a library and on the Internet for viewing on a monitor. However, the real work and brain muscle goes into putting the documents into a search tree with worthwhile structure and commentary. Then it is important to provide labels and short, topical article entries, illustrations and tables, if what is made searchable is intended for anyone other than an advanced scholar in his or her specialised field of research.

The Sherbrooke archive source: HERE

The team at the University of Sherbrooke should be praised for what they have digitized, annotated and made searchable on line. The articles and timelines, just to mention two features I stumbled upon, are well done. (I hope some of you readers will look into this. I also hope that the work has been translated into English.)

I do not think anybody working for Google is competent to accomplish the same thing. Blogaulaire is not saying that Google ever claimed that they are competent at such scholarly, educational enterprises. But many, many people are creating buzz and momentum such that Google becomes the 800-pound gorilla that crushes all the competent cage mates (the real librarians and scholarly writers) up against the bars and out of the metaphoric zoo!

There is a huge, looming problem here. There is a threat on the horizon if anybody in their right mind EVER places confidence in Google or another private corporation and pays them to take on the sort of archival and electronic publishing projects that are currently the mandate of institutionally recognised teams, such as this one, that Blogaulaire just discovered.

Why bring Google into this?

This is all about the 'Google scans the world' issue as blogger J Godsey so tersely puts it on her blog Bibliophile Bullpen.

On another blog we are about to cite below, the matter is headlined in the post title and quote we are also about to cite. Links and credits also follow.

The Digital Battle For Our Literary Heritage: The Internet Archive vs. Google

From: Book Patrol

By Michael Lieberman - Antiquarian Bookseller
From his blog on the website of the Seattle newspaper The Post Intelligencer .

Michael Lieberman also has a personal blog by the same title where you find fewer enhancements like images and less emphasis on running human interest feature articles.

If Google wants to digitize the collections of private institutions by all means go ahead but to venture into the realm of digitizing the content of public institutions (remember University libraries are public institutions) is a slippery slope that unfortunately we have started to slide down.

We need to do all we can to stop this digital freight train. The message is simple. For profit companies cannot digitize the content of public institutions or public libraries.

Let the Internet Archive take care of digitizing the treasures of our public institutions and libraries. We can set aside a portion of the budget for the Library of Congress (a current supporter) and the Smithsonian Institution if need be or how about a 1% digital archive tax on every new computer purchased.

The point is we need to get creative here. Fast.

We need to buy back the rights that were sold to Google (at a premium of course) and go about doing this the right way.


Lieberman's post is worth blogging in extenso. And thank you, Michael Lieberman, for crediting CPE for finding one of the source articles you link in your post.

Lately two of my posts here have been 'ripped' by both electronic and print media without so much as giving Cheap Priceless Editions eve a credit line! Thanks for the one you ran on Book Patrol, sincerely.

25 January 2007

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 25 January


grapes of wrath dustjacket

"It is easier to acquire great lands than it is to find a true brother ."

. . (97) Chinese

24 January 2007

Book Patrol: A Haven for Book Lovers


There is almost always something interesting to read in the Pacific Northwest's blogger's bookshop run by this guy at Book Patrol.

Both CPE's post title and the linked article title below will take you over there to finish reading this piece. (There is an image as well.) And be sure to visit all the LINKS to your right on the sidebar here.

Any time you want to search to see what a book is selling for on the Internet, type in one or more lines in the box above and click. It's that easy!

'New and Used' an exhibit of photographs by Marc Joseph:

"Opening today in The Cooley Gallery at Reed College in Portland, Oregon is the U.S. debut of 'New and Used' an exhibit of photographs by Marc Joseph. Joseph traveled across America photographing 'the spaces and objects of independent book and record stores'. Steidl has recently published these photos in the book version of 'New and Used'. "

Keeping current on news about digital bookmaking


A KEYWORD 'CHEAT SHEET' for your own web crawl with hints, links and keywords to 'stay current' by searching for the e-book revolution manifesto.

blogaulaire avatar cy butterfield
I just linked over to slashdot.

A handful of regular posters over at have been scrutinizing news sources to decide whether Google is 'enjoying' success or failure in their touted Digitised Reading Revolution.

All the commenting and posting over there that I looked at was about this new sagaof Google entering the field of e-books while forging several partnerships with universities. Google is beginning to create vast digital libraries for these academic clients. (There are still lawsuits pending over these projects. The plaintifs, apparently, are some the the US's biggest book publishers.)

Google is being sued for an intent to engage in copyright violations by American publishing companies. Bitain's flagship publishing company Oxford) is NOT suing for divorce from Google, however; quite the contrary.

So far, this controversy is all about scanning library books.

On several other fronts, the Oxford University Press is working hand-in-glove with Google on commercial stuff like putting a Spanish dictionary on the iPod(TM). The terrain has become difficult to negotiate for casual onlookers out strolling the landscape of publishing. The paths fork and divide, some are probably dead-ends. The issue becomes complicated and contradictory.

It is at times like these - with 'dead tree' publishers facing challenges right and left - that we 'needs read' informed people's blog posts and online comments to discover what, if any analysis makes sense. The case is not yet in.

Blogaulaire offers help with a few keyword tools for your own Internet searches and for crawling the web on a news aggregator, if you use one.

Meme Theme = An e-book on my iPod'"is like an MP3 for the eyes"

- said with a sigh :)
Here are some keywords for search strings (some are meme themes) that you can search for on Technocrati, Yahoo, or the Google Blog Search option):
"book +" "search service", scan, digitize, searchable, + "library collections" +,"digital libraries", "Evan Schnittman", "book downloads" +, "Ralph Oman".

Other keywords that help zoom in on the topic are: nettamere (a regular slashdot poster) and "Google Print Program".

from Elinor Mills
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: October 24, 2005

The Print Program has two components, one for publishers and one for libraries. Under the Google Publisher Program, the company is working with book publishers to make titles searchable and easy to purchase. The search result pages include advertisements if publishers want them, and most of the revenue goes to the publishers, Google said.

The controversial part of the Print Program, which has prompted two lawsuits so far, is the Print Library Project. Under the Library Project, the search giant is scanning, digitizing and making searchable parts or all of the collections from Stanford University, Harvard University, Oxford University, the University of Michigan and The New York Public Library.

from "Google's battle over library books
As the search giant pushes ahead with its book-scanning project, publishers are crying copyright foul, not fair use.

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 24 January


kitchen scales

from Justin Wintle

"Anyone who owns just three ounces of flour should never have to depend on his wife's family ."

. . (89) Japanese

23 January 2007

Notes on blogs and the new media revolution


by liza
(14 November 2006 - personal blog
on culturekitchen's site

NOTE: CPE will be adding the main page link to the blog culturekitchen on our blogroll list in the right-hand sidebar.

We were struck by an interesting piece found at CK. If there is consistent interest shown by my readers (if people use the link), I will keep looking for stuff to blog over from the site.

Opening her post she wrote: "Tonight I have the opportunity to talk about blogs, feminism and the Web 2.0 revolution at Barnard University's Center for Research on Women."

. . . the idea of feminism as a politics of the "personal turned public". The main idea of "Las tretas del debil" is that Power is not about fixed dialectical opositions : Strong vs. Weak. Power is a process of making spaces for expression. When Ludmer writes how, this explains women writer's preference for smaller literary genres like letters, autobiographies and diaries. Styles on the margins of literary and non-literary writing, called also reality-based writing, you can see how blogs would fit nicely into the category of minor litertures where personal realities are used as power machines.

Ludmer's article owes a huge debt to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (Theory and History of Literature, Vol 30). Compared to amount of pages these guys produced for their magnus opus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Kafka would seem like a piddling of a little book. I believe though it is perfect for our discussion of blogs because it synthesizes the theory and praxis of becoming minor they developed in their mammoth collaboration. In turn, the concept of becoming minor explains the current upheaval created by bloggers and it points to their possibility as power machines.

A ‘minor literature’ is political, collective, revolutionary, and even spatial —deterritorializing one terrain as it maps another.
According to Deleuze and Guattari, the ‘minor literature’ maps the passage of this deterritorialization; as such, it is a literature of the people; as such, it is also thoroughly political. “The literary machine thus becomes the relay for a revolutionary machine-to-come, not at all for ideological reasons but because the literary machine alone is determined to fill the conditions of a collective enunciation that is lacking elsewhere in this milieu: literature is the people’s concern”.

A Note from culturekitchen

culturekitchen is a community blog aimed at cultural creatives who believe progressive activism starts in the kitchen, the bedroom, the home, the wallet. It is open for all who believe the decline of progressive and libertarian values have set us back as a democratic nation.

culturekitchen is published by Liza Sabater. It's one of the top progressive and feminist blogs in the United States.


"A snark and gravitas-filled publication focused on arts, culture, politics and technology."

Published by Liza Sabater
with various other writers

We reserve the right to 'hunt you down and slap you upside the head' if you reprint or rebroadcast our content for-profit and without our consent.

Creative Commons Licenses are cool as long as you share alike

- (emphasis added by Blogaulaire)

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 23 January


from Justin Wintle

"It takes three years before a peach tree bears fruit, but a widow is only a widow for one year ."

. . (89) Japanese

22 January 2007

We Hesitate to Bring This Audio Program to Your Attention


It would force you to download a new multimedia studio complex.

I had to struggle several hours recently because the crew here (moi) strayed from the path of voluntary simplicity. Itried to download too much BloatWare playing with audio and game downloads for your blogging enjoyment.

We can look down our noses (but rarely do) at the REAL videogame and MP3 junkies. But we look up to them, at least the ones here in Montréal.

The reason we don't look DOWN at these addicts is because the big operators, the pros, have taken residence here over the past decade and they are HQ'd in the finest of some 6 or 8 of the tallest buildings along The Main (St. Lawrence Street). So in terms of these leading-edge game coders, to look at them at all we have to look UP -- WAY UP above the 6th floor :)

But here at CPE we play games as well, when not solving all the world's problems writing our flowing prose.

Games we like are mahjong, solitaire in the Windows plain vanilla flavor, Go, Scrabble, dominoes and strategy board games with four players. Not too much electronics, but often on a computer. Sometimes on a real table with real human 'warm-body' competition.

Today, though, I had to reload new copies of old games that we erased because they had become too addictive to accomplish anything else. (I tried to find whatever was out there for free.) Some 'law' about 'you get what you (don't) pay for' kicked in . . .
. . . so two thirds of the downloads we tried were total bloatware, taking over the computer and going online to rack up scores -- and even stupider nonsense.(Later I will share one address that offers fine, slim versions of nice games - but I'm not certain how to get them in English (though advertised as bilingual) and I just take the French stuff as it comes. I will check that out later to blog on it.

The more serious project that was so rudely interrupted by bloatware relates to my idea of sharing audio files on this blog. You could be convinced, I think, that listening to performance poets and even dead poets (including T. S. Eliot) is fun and educational.

Audio literary performances for enhancing the reading experience, not replacing printed books, can and should be a powerful niche that online publishers should explore. Enhancements, both visual and auditory, not substitution on a monitor screen, is a better fit than a big move into e-books for reading on plasma screens or tiny cell phones.

Trying to listen to bookmarked readings I have, I was surprisingly obliged, for the first time in months, to upgrade RealPlayer to hear the stuff that used to work on older versions of software. The download took forever. And then it took over the computer.

How? By forcing, I'm not joking, by forcing Firefox Mozilla down the same line with the newer version of RealPlayer (TM).

Although I have nothing against Firefox's Mozilla browser, I do not want it. Not now anyhow. But NOW I certainly have something against RealPlayer - for all the bloat and for trying to jam a new browser down my throat.

Finally, if anyone knows a more user-friendly way to share a few audio clips for poetry readings through this blog, let me know. I would like all this to be much simpler for every single user and not pressure anyone to face a bloated download like we juat did. I would like it to be a mere click away.

Why isn't there something that runs straight off the blog for sound files?

Perhaps all of us should choose the leanest, simplest audio player (one that comes with the operating system) instead of stuff that imitates a broadcast station's studio monitor all jam-packed into a tiny corner of the screen as the sound screams out of the speakers.

Come on, Linux freaks, have your go at convincing of Open Source approaches.

Post your Comments.

I am nearly ready to take the Linux plunge (one more time)!

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 22 January


foxy ladies, sexy ad

from Justin Wintle

"Same fox, same hole."

. . (87) Japanese

21 January 2007

The Book Business has a Symbiotic Relation with Your Local Newsprint Media


Today I read The Montreal Gazette looking outside the Books 'Section K' to see if other, more 'newsy' pieces mentioned trade fiction or non-fiction titles.

In several different sections (I want to say 'cahiers' because that is how the French newspapers Le Devoir and La Presse and Le Journal de Montréal are divided) . . well, in various parts and pages I found numerous articles that mentioned 'so-and-so, author of . . .'. I even ran across whole feature pieces outside the Books section where it amounted to an author interview.

Sports jocks write books. Journalists write books. Gossip columnists are authors.

Any regular reader of a newspaper will feel driven to go check out or buy this or that book if they want to find out more about the people covered in the paper or to research facts and ideas that make headlines.

The conclusion is obvious, unless you think that radio and television also reference books as much as newsprint media. Do you think they highlight people who write books? I mean the most popular media. It bears looking into, because, if not . . .

A decline in the circulation of newspapers, or concentration of the news in the hands of media groups who make most of their money from cable and broadcast media, could be the biggest threat to the book trade.

Think about it. Blogaulaire and other boys and girls on blogs harp about digitized books. You could start to see Google as a big threatening ogre that will gobble the bookstores and the publishers in one gulp. But maybe the big ogre, if there is one, is the THING out there that is gobbling up the daily newspapers!

CLICK on the title for one example of a news article that is about a TRADE TITLE.

Trials, Attacks, Murders : Writers Are Victimized by Hysteria in Turkey


Immediately upon receiving news that Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was shot and killed Friday, The Associated Press released a a timeline that shows that writers are the primary target of the state in Turkey today.

We see immediately when we review the past year's series of trials for such crimes as "insulting Turkishness" that Turkish citizens are being whipped up against Armenian-Turks -- especially against the intellectuals who defend civic and ethnic rights and who respect the 'facts of history'.

When Hrant Dink, editor of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, was shot and killed last Friday, 19 January 2007 in Istanbul, it was the culmination of state sanctioned and courtroom orchestrated 'hate crimes', not an isolated murder.

See below as well. After I blog the timeline I link to another piece at Open Democracy's website, from one year ago., It was written when the trials became international news.

Hrant Dink was the judicial target. In 2006, novelist Orhan Pamuk went almost straight from his own show trial to Stockholm, Sweden to receive his Nobel Prize in Literature.
(Both the English and French versions of Pamuk's novel "Snow" are growing in popularity and are selling well in Montreal bookstores today.

In Turkey, a Year of Attacks and Trials

Jan 19th 2007
By The Associated Press

(AP) - _ Jan. 19, 2007
Hrant Dink, editor of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, is slain by a gunman in Istanbul.

_ Dec. 19, 2006: Writer Ipek Calislar acquitted of insulting Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in a biography in which she said Ataturk dressed as a woman to escape an assassination attempt.

After the timeline lists other "show trials", the AP editor traces the victimisation of writers back over 12 months (almost to the exact date one year ago). The date was
"Jan. 23, 2006: when the Turkish court droped charges of "insulting Turkishness" against author Orhan Pamuk (on a technicality).

"Pamuk was charged after discussing the deaths of Armenians in Turkey with a Swiss newspaper. He won the Nobel Prize for literature later in the year."

Orhan Pamuk and Turkey’s future

Daria Vaisman
1 - 12 - 2006

The reception of Orhan Pamuk's Nobel award in Turkey is charged with the political tensions inside the country and in its relationship with Europe, says Daria Vaisman.

Pamuk himself is at the centre of the controversy. It was he who he told the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeige in February 2005 that "30,000 Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it" (comments which made Pamuk the most prominent target of the notorious "insult law" cases, in which individuals have been charged with "denigrating Turkishness"). Although Pamuk's case was eventually dismissed on a technicality, other writers - among them Hrant Dink, Elif Shafak, and Murat Belge - have since been tried under the same law.

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 21 January


fortune telling card deal
from Justin Wintle

"In the heavens, thunder; down on earth, the maternal uncle."

. . (82) Chinese