Tuesday, July 2, 2019

E-Book Vanishing

A couple of days ago Wired ran an article about the implosion in Microsofts ebook marketplace. Basically, they launched the store within the edge browser and then when it failed to take off the closed up the digital store. As part of this service they essentially retracted all the books from users digital libraries on the service causing users books to simply disappear. Now Microsoft attempted to make users whole thru providing a refund for all books purchased and also adding in an extra $25 for anyone who used their mark-up/note feature within the books.

Then today I have been consolidating some of my read it later services (Pinboard, Pocket etc.) and I found a service where the some the links dated back to 2009. As I am going thru and manually adding each link between services I’ve seen several error messages: 404 errors, server errors, websites now hosting an SEO affiliate scheme, site now set-up in another language than the original link, and the link getting redirected to a spam post, and a page note found error.

Given my experience transferring the links and the article on ebooks vanishing it has been thinking again about how ephemeral the internet can be in contrast to a traditional library or archive. Books can’t be removed from your collection once purchased nor shift and change once cataloged and placed on a shelf. Ebooks and other materials certainly come with a convenience though that convenience also has drawbacks.

*From among the links I transferred here is an article from the digital shift on Ebooks Choices and the Soul of Librarianship from 2012, which I thought prescient given the Wired article.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Book

The New York Times ran an opinion article on how the paper book is reclaiming the cultural zeitgeist from online ebooks. As much as I love books (the shape, the smell) I had a library school professor who called books “containers for information” rather than artifacts and that has stuck with my thru the years. Still, from a technological perspective the book is remarkable. It requires no power, can be annotated, and is relatively cheap to produce. That is hard to beat.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Lost Start of the Year

I normally write a end of the year post summing up my plans for the year (inevitably to write more) and talk about plans for the blog. Though this year I missed it in part due to work and home being busy and also the question on the value in blogging. I started this blog ten years ago while in grad school to help form my opinions on librarianship and help with my writing. Since then it has been a steady 1 post per month cycle about librarianship, libraries, technology (Apple), and other topics that I find interesting.


2018 had been an interesting year. I did end writing the newsletter I wrote about in my end of the year last year though it did not go well. I produced a few issues though I ended up being a lot less comfortable with the closed nature of distribution model (i.e. people have to opt in to the receive the email) while what I still love about the blog (caveats from last years lost aside) it is open and anyone can find this blog with the right address.


I wrote 13 posts last year, which is slightly less then my most prolific year and aligns closely to my once a month schedule that I seem unable to improve. I have moved away from writing about Apple (save for a single post on airpods) and wrote about alternative careers in librarianship, continuing professional development, and my foray into user research. I think I will continue with my forecast that I would like to write more though from the data about one post a month seems to be my schedule (albeit I am now behind for 2019 due to losing the first part of the year).


This year I have a few goals in mind for a personal information management perspective. The first being to manage my photos better as I have not done a good job maintaining my photo library and my photo volume has ballooned since getting married and having children. (Part of this would be a photography course as I am
truly a terrible photographer.) Secondly, I would like to move away from blogger as a platform as it is clear from the creepiness that it is not a priority for Google to keep maintaining it. Some of the images from early posts are missing completely, which would be a decade ago now though I have only around a hundred posts so it shouldn’t be that hard to maintain. I leaning toward a hosted Wordpress. I installation as that is what Automattic does so it is in their best interest keep their blogs running(even micro blogs like mine). I would probably break all my blog post links that refer back to the blog and would require some transfer process. (Since I have only around 100 posts I would probably port them manually via markdown and then upload them to Wordpress manually to match the posting schedule in Blogger. It would be easy; just time consuming.


In terms of professional goals I would like to work a taxonomy for all our queries at work so we can better understand what queries we’re maintaining and users can more easily find them. I would also like to spend somtime trying to figure out Python as the langauge seems super useful when mangling large text files.


While this post is late I do hope I can keep writing too as there is something about creation that feeds the soul.