TILT #100 — I can’t complain but sometimes I still do
Welcome to TILT 100. We’re having that weird not-cold-enough winter right now in Vermont. As a new homeowner, I can’t complain, but as someone concerned about the climate, I will complain a little.
This newsletter has been going since June 2016 and while there’s something appealing about stopping it, wrapping it up at a round number (since you have probably noticed it’s become more irregular as of late) I still do enjoy writing it, so I think I’ll keep at it. Happy New Year to those who celebrate. I don’t make resolutions as such, but I’ll be trying to focus more on what’s working than what’s broken in 2023. Join me?
First up, as you may know I’m one of the mods of the Facebook group Library Think Tank. It’s sometimes messy, often brings the drama, and I spend the bulk of my time managing spammers. But! I also get to meet a much wider range of librarians than I ever would here in Vermont, and I get a lot of ideas for neat things to do in my library. One example, for a recently-returned books shelf.
Twitter is also becoming more of a hellsite, but it’s also a way I keep up with library memes and Chuck Groundhog.
If you’re looking to make the jump to Mastodon, please say hello. I’m at https://glammr.us/@jessamyn on an instance that is nice and small and primarily for GLAM folks. If you’re already on Mastodon, one recent article I’ve liked is Mike Masnick’s Tricks To Making Mastodon Way More Useful. If you really need to get started from scratch, this long but thorough intro is the one which helped me.
LibraryThing’s TinyCat has long been the default standard for “How do I keep track of my personal book collection?” projects. Inventaire is a newer one. Open source, and built using a Wikidata-federated open bibliographic database, it’s nice to look at. Maybe you’re looking more at non-book stuff that you might want to donate to an archive? The Invisible Histories Project in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia (“Unapologetically Southern. Unapologetically Queer”) has an informative page on their website about Archiving from Home.
Let’s talk metadata. Every year, I feel like we’ll finally see The Year of Metadata and every year I am wrong.
- Amber Billey discusses recording gender in library cataloging, why it’s been done, what it accomplishes and what it restricts.
- Tolu Adegbite talks about alt text as part of user experience, and how and why to describe race in your alt text descriptions.
- Not quite metadata but another behind-the-scenes bit of library work is our publisher agreements. AJ Boston makes a case for libraries leveraging their purchasing power to bring about full open access, at scale.
How about some fascinating print books?
A fun little mystery, solved using Duke University’s Rubenstein Library’s copy of A Curious Herbal (full book can be viewed at the Internet Archive since Duke’s is restricted to Duke folks)
The curious tale of why Marie Curie’s papers are still radioactive and what this means for their curators.
Public Domain Review’s The Art of Book Covers (1820–1914) collection is a gorgeous assortment of book covers from the “first century of the book cover”
And now some news about digital books (and online content services generally).
- The E-Book Wars from Planet Money (transcript) summarizes that bad time when Macmillan was being awful.
- Libraries Are Launching Their Own Local Music Streaming Platforms using MUSICat’s open source software. Go listen!
- ‘Shadow Libraries’ Are Moving Their Pirated Books to The Dark Web After Fed Crackdowns. If you were Sci-Hub curious but didn’t really need scientific papers, you might want to learn more about the demise and move underground of LibGen and Z-Library highly popular book downloading sites.
A few odds and ends that seemed like they wouldn’t be out of place a month or two late.
- Tara Calishain from Research Buzz makes great little Search Gizmos that are helpful for a number of things. Obit Magnet helps with the sometimes difficult process of tracking down obituaries (if you get as far as Newspapers.com and hit a paywall, hit me up I can help).
- ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table had a one-day Homelessness Summit in November and has made the video recordings available. They have captions turned on so they’ve got approximate transcripts as well.
- Meet the warrior librarians of Ukraine.
This was a banner year for reading, but it was a tough year for many other things, pretty much a cause and effect thing for me. I enjoyed reading a lot, but honestly I hope to read fewer books next year. I liked all of these last four books, with Incredible Doom my fave and Titan maybe my least fave. My booklist remains at https://jessamyn.info/booklist (rss feed!) if you’d like to follow along.
Happy new year. You made it. We’ll get through this.
Today in Librarian Tabs is written irregularly by Jessamyn West who also maintains librarian.net. It’s available in more-accessible format your inbox via TinyLetter. Thanks for reading.