- Tim Spalding's got some very good points at Thingology about the new "Library Ninja" video making the rounds on YouTube (it's linked in Tim's post). Speaking as someone who is taking a class in Reference Services this semester, I entirely agree with Tim: for 'simple' reference questions, books are rarely (not never, but rarely) the most efficient way to find the answer.
Tim writes of books and the Internet "I don't see them as rivals. The web has supplanted a few things that books used to do, but not the important ones. And libraries can do things with computers they are only just starting to explore. People who love books need to fight against these ideas. They're a trap. They're wrong, and they're very dangerous to the things we love." Exactly. It cannot be a competition between books and computers: reference, whether simple or complex, must be an integrated process in which all possible sources are used to obtain the most effective answer in the most efficient and explainable way.
- Ed's put up a good Omnigatherum yesterday, which should not be missed.
- Over at Weekend Stubble, Paul Collins comments on a c. 1912 version of "mad-libs," which he also spoke about on NPR's "Weekend Edition" this weekend. He's also got a post about several novels told from the perspective of chairs. That reminded me of a recent Common-Place article about a James Fenimore Cooper novella narrated by a pocket handkerchief. The author notes "Cooper did not invent the conceit of narrator as inanimate object. The object narrative dates to the early eighteenth century in Britain and usually involves currency (Johnstone's Chrysal; or, The Adventures of a Guinea ) but also includes other articles of daily life: slippers and a bedstead narrate The History and Adventures of a Lady's Slippers and Shoes (1754) and The History and Adventures of a Bedstead (1784), respectively." So Paul, I see your three chair-narrated stories and raise you a handkerchief, a pair of slippers, and a bedstead!
- Critical Mass has a roundup and a full writeup of Simon Schama's Rough Crossings, which is a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. My review is here.
- Over at Upward Departure, Travis has posted a few of the search strings that have directed people to his blog, with humorous commentary.
- Ian posted several important things this week at Lux Mentis, Lux Orbis (at least one of which I could have sworn I wrote up a post on already but clearly I just imagined it): a rather funny clip from the "Significant Occupation Series" on being a rare bookseller, and also a note on a major book theft in northern New Hampshire (on which Joyce has more).
- ephemera had two useful posts this week regarding the storage and protection of paper collectibles. Part I; Part II.