Jon Udell offers a nifty web tool. Install one of his bookmarklets for your local public library. If you’re browsing a book site, say at Amazon.com or All Consuming, you can click the bookmarklet and a window will pop-up displaying the book’s availability at your local library. Note that not only U.S. libraries are supported.
Martha Freeman got the bad news at lunch from her publisher and literary agent. Although “The Trouble With Babies” had received good reviews, the sales of her children’s book about a young San Francisco girl were poor compared with the first title in her series, and the paperback rights would not be sold.
The reason: A brief passage…about two gay fathers and their adopted son apparently had discouraged many librarians across the United States from buying the title….
Freeman’s publisher now wants her to write a third book in the series, but that leaves her with a question: Fight the censorship and retain the gay characters, or leave them out in the hopes of selling more books?
Today I read two articles discussing books and electronic publishing: Gary Wolf’s piece for Wired about Amazon’s Search Inside the Book feature, and Umberto Eco’s lecture at Alexandria. I see some interesting parallels between the pieces, but I want to reread both before I can comment on them.
BeSpacific reports that the 2003 edition of the CIA World Factbook is now available. Whenever I edit a country-specific project (like my current book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding North Korea), I always find the CIA Factbook to be a valuable reference. It’s also fun just for browsing.
BeSpacific quotes the press release:
This reference work provides a snapshot, as of 1 January 2003, of wide-ranging, hard-to-locate information about the background, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The nine primary information categories and 134 subcategories for most entities include geographic coordinates, Gross Domestic Product, number of telephones, natural resources, legal systems, political parties, illicit drugs, mortality rates, and more. Included among the 268 geographic listings is one for the “World,” which incorporates data and other information summarized where possible from the other 267 listings.
High court OK’s Internet filters for public libraries. The decision adds latitude for shielding kids from porn, but curbs free speech. [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]
The Brooklyn Public Library has made available the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1840-1902), in a fully searchable format. The feature, currently in beta testing, brings up full scans of each issue. Clicking a story or ad brings an enlarged view. This should be a great resource for historians and genealogists (the obituaries are also searchable), plus it’s just damn cool to be able to dive into the borough’s history in such a high-tech and intuitive way. [via Boing Boing Blog]
In Washington Whispers: Bookworms, pack rats–nation’s secret warriors, the newsweekly U.S. News & World Report reports how the Librarian of Congress, James Billington, has aided the government in tracking down al Qaeda. It’s a short piece, but it’s interesting.
U.S. News, by the way, has implemented an RSS feed, meaning that I can now easily blog news items from the mag. Hats off to Jenny Levine for pointing it out.