…the horological journals…

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I am minded to write a short article for one of the horological journals…

This is an actual quote from an email I received this morning. Gloriously olde-worlde as this is, it was only the second archaically worded email I got today (both from external enquirers). The other regarded a case from 1807… and could have been written by a gentleman of that time!

I love my job.

 

 

Images of 1950s Glasgow in the National Records of Scotland

Fascinating photos contained within Glasgow Sheriff Court records held by the National Records of Scotland‏.

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Open Book

You might expect the pictures contained within Sheriff court Records to be graphic or disturbing, showing the details of crimes and their victims. Of course, this is often the case – but sometimes the pictures can instead give us a glimpse into social or local history.

In a payment case for damages for injuries occurring in a Glasgow washhouse or ‘steamie’ in 1959 we found this wonderfully candid shot. This photograph provides a snapshot into the working of such a wash house. The large washing machines can be seen in the background, with basins on the right, airing cabinets on the left, and tables for folding in the foreground. It definitely shows what a chore hand washing used to be and how much we take our home washing machines for granted! Such an everyday shot of a very ordinary place would usually not have been a typical subject for a…

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Book Review: Want You Gone by Chris Brookmyre

Want You Gone (Jack Parlabane #8)
Chris Brookmyre

Published February 2nd 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 9781408707173

“Chris” Brookmyre writes straight, solid crime fiction. I do miss the joyful anarchy of “Christopher” Brookmyre (and I dearly hope he comes back one day) but these books are certainly a thrilling read. A majo31356782r feature of this one for me was, in amongst enjoying a right rollocking read, I learned a whole lot of terrifying new stuff about hackers and data security. Top tip: TRUST NO-ONE! Ever.

I loved the few wee links to Brookmyre’s other works that show Jack Parlabane inhabits the same world. DI Catherine McLeod is mentioned in passing but my favourite was a cameo from All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye, one of my top 3 Brookmyre books.

Jack is something of a long-suffering character and I’m starting to imagine him as one, gigantic bruise (inside and out). Come on Chris, give the guy a happy ending! Just once. The trials of Mr Parlabane aside, this is an extremely well written, pacy thrill-ride from start to finish. Highly recommended.

Stationery fish and the rule of law

So, I’ve long been commenting on the fact that legal publishers seem to embrace the use of copyright-free images for their cover art. This, however, goes beyond. Surely this…thing is the product of some child-art-prodigy. An editors offspring maybe? It looks like a poor sad fish has been skewered by a paperclip.

I’m wracking my brains but I see no connection between stationery fish and the rule of law. Help me out?

41rv2mQ8s-L__SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Reinforcing Rule of Law Oversight in the European Union by Carlos Closa (Editor), Dimitry Kochenov (Editor)

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (13 Oct. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107108882

 

 

Little Free Libraries – urban decoration for affluent areas?

Here’s an interesting looking study published by the Journal of Radical Librarianship. I tend to have no time for librarians who, in relation to LFLs, whine “They’re not really libraries. They’re just book swaps!”. That, to me, is semantics.

Books is books.

However, this article makes the point that these small book collections don’t appear in neighbourhoods where they could be of most value. In Toronto at least, they tend to be confined to more affluent areas. This is understandable in a way since the structures sold by the company Little Free Libraries are not cheap. People in poorer areas are likely less able to afford them and those who can may be unwilling to set them up too far away from their own homes.

c47d00fa20e2947527a90061eb42398bI don’t really have much knowledge on this topic but during my recent trip to the US (Florida and New Orleans) I saw several little neighbourhood book swaps and they appeared to be situated in all kinds of areas. What’s true of Toronto may not be universally constant.

However, I’ve only glanced at this piece so far and may have more to say once I’ve read it in detail. I’m just posting it for interest right now. Please share your own thoughts in the comments below.

Little Free Libraries®: Interrogating the impact of the branded book exchange
Schmidt and Hale
Journal of Radical Librarianship, Vol. 3 (2017) pp.14–41. Published 19 April 2017
ABSTRACT: In this article, we critique the phenomenon of Little Free Libraries® (LFL®), the non-profit organization dedicated to sharing books with one’s neighbours. Through our engagement with the discourses, narratives and geographies of the LFL® movement, we argue that the organization represents the corporatization of literary philanthropy, and is an active participant in the civic crowdfunding activities of the non-profit industrial complex. The visible positioning of these book exchanges, particularly on private property in gentrified urban landscapes, offers a materialization of these neoliberal politics at street level. Drawing primarily upon one of the author’s experiences as an LFL® steward, as well as critical discourse and GIS analysis, we offer constructive critiques of the organization and their mission, and suggest that the principles of community-led library practice can be more effectively employed to harness the enthusiasm of these self-described “literacy warriors”.
Keywords: Little Free Libraries, critical geography, landscape theory, non-profit industrial complex, philanthropy, civic crowdfunding, public libraries

 

Inquiry into fake news: the CILIP ILG response

The CILIP Information Literacy Group’s response to UK government inquiry into fake news:

In January 2017, the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport launched an inquiry into fake news. As is usual with such inquiries, the Committee invited submissions from interested parties, prior to compiling a report – which we hope will be published later in the year.

CILIP Information Literacy GroupThe CILIP Information Literacy Group, in collaboration with InformAll, submitted a response in March. Not only is this inquiry timely, but it is directly relevant to information literacy. Indeed, one of the questions posed by the Committee in its call for submissions was ‘How can we educate people in how to assess and use different sources of news?’.InformAll

In April, the Committee published our response (the list of the nearly eighty submissions made by a range of other bodies and individuals is also available here. Amongst the other respondents are Google, Facebook, the Guardian, the BBC, Research Libraries UK and the Open University).

These are the highlights of some of the key points that we raised in our submission:

  • Much of the current debate in this area is articulated around what Google, Facebook and others do to limit the spread of fake news, for instance through changes in their algorithms.  But although these often technological approaches are undoubtedly important, they fail to address the place and responsibility of users as consumers, creators and sharers of information. So the question we are posing is how people’s fundamental beliefs and commitments have an impact on the way that they relate to information and news; and what might be done to help them become more judicious in their approach to information and mis-information. This is where information literacy comes in.
  • In confronting fake news and misinformation, the search for evidence – founded on enquiry, questioning and research – is more relevant than the notion of truth. Truth is a subjective concept, and is not a helpful term when trying to address the challenge of fake news; it follows that the expression ‘post-truth’ is equally unhelpful.
  • A major part of any solution is a greater emphasis on the teaching of critical thinking, associated with information and digital literacy, in secondary schools – something that does not currently feature prominently in the curriculum. School students’ attitudes and practices towards information are often sorely lacking, but there is evidence to suggest a more discerning mindset can be fostered, given the right sort of interventions.
  • By and large, public policy in the UK does not properly address information literacy, and the recently-published UK Digital Strategy, in spite of its thinking on digital skills, conspicuously fails to touch on how to foster more critical and questioning approaches to online information.
  • Psychology can go a long way to explaining people’s propensity to believe fake news, and people’s powerful attachments to what they believe to be true can breed attitudes that are very resistant to evidence and facts. Cognitive factors are important in determining attitudes to information.

We recommend keeping an eye on the Select Committee’s webpages to monitor progress with their inquiry.

Source: Inquiry into fake news: the CILIP ILG response

Book review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

#amreading #neilgaiman #norsemythology #librarybook #mythology #librariesrock #bookstagram

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Published: February 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781408886816

Gaiman uses simple language to tell these stories but they are deeply compelling and evocative nonetheless. Old as these tales are – and well known to me – his simple, elegant words paint new and vivid pictures in my mind. Thor with his red beard and comic stupidity; beautiful, haughty Freya… and Loki – who “makes the world more interesting but less safe”.

There’s a lot of humour and lightheartedness in these myths but the whole mood is somewhat darkened by Gaiman’s prophecy of Ragnarok:

“This will be the age of cruel winds, the age of people who become as wolves, who prey upon each other, who are no better than wild beasts. Twilight will come to the world, and the places where the humans live will fall into ruins, flaming briefly, then crashing down and crumbling into ash and devastation”

I found this passage eerily familiar. Are we now living through the end times? Is Ragnarok almost upon us?…

I devoured this book like a wolf devouring the moon. Neil Gaiman’s reputation as a Bard of Epic Standing is now assured in my opinion. Highly recommended.