Spring & summer conference schedule

I have a few conferences coming up and I thought I'd share my schedule just in case any of you out there in sciencelibrarianblogland will also be attending.

I'll list them in order, along with whatever I'll be presenting.

BookCamp Toronto, May 15, Toronto

9:30: eBooks in Education and Academia -- the glacial revolution
John Dupuis (York University)
Evan Leibovitch (York University)

Description: Despite growing public acceptance of eBooks, two areas in which they could offer the most benefit -- education and academia -- are far behind the eBook mainstream. This session will discuss issues directly related to educational (K-12) and academic (post-secondary) use of eBooks from the perspective of authors, readers and libraries. The session will also discuss the current generation of eBook readers -- both hardware and software -- in the context of student and researcher use.

Canadian Engineering Education Association, June 7-9, Kingston, ON

Using a Blog to Engage Students in Literature Search Skills Sessions

One of the main problems for librarians involved in engaging engineering students in literature search skills sessions is creating a list of customized, course-specific online resources that is easy for students to find and use. Such a list can include links to article databases (ie. IEEE Xplore), ebook packages (ie. Books 24x7), web resources, patent search engines and standards series. It can also be used to hold notes from the session, background information and links to useful tools such as citation management software. Given that blogs are becomming an increasingly popular item in the pedagogical toolbox, creating one to host these notes and links is an obvious possibility. Blogging tools such as WordPress are simple and straightforward to use. Blog entries can be easily linked to on a course website or even Googled by students. During the classroom session itself, the blog is used both to engage the students' attention and as an outline of the content. Adding interactivity via Instant Messaging widgets such as Meebo also make the blog a good tool for engaging with students both during the session and after it is over. Analysis tools such as Google Analytics can be used to assess the usage of the blog. A sample web page, created for the Engineering 1000 course at York University, can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/yorkueng1000.

(Note: The technical program schedule isn't set yet. I'll post when I know the date & time.)


Science Foo Camp
, July 30 - August 1, Mountain View, CA

Science Foo Camp is an unconference, so the program is self-organized by the participants at the conference itself. We're all expected to contribute by participating in creating and running the program.

So far my main idea for a session to propose is about Building Campus Open Science Collaborations. From the point of view of Open Access, Open Data, Open Notebook and all the rest, there are a lot of campus constituencies that can work together build the commitment, infrastructure and policies to make Open Science work. Who are there people and how can they all be brought together to make Open Science a reality on your cmapus.

Obviously this is in super embryonic format. I would really appreciate any input on my idea, especially how to make it speak to researchers that may be considering Open Science initiatives but might not know where to get started.

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Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, Fall 2009 & Winter 2010

ISTL is a great resource for those of us in science and technology libraries. I'm happy to report on the tables of contents from the last two issues.

Winter 2010

Fall 2009

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Authorial control

Horror author Cherie Priest has a very nice post from a couple of days ago called Control. It's basically about what mass market fiction authors do and don't have control over in the book production process. Now, the mass market fiction publishing niche is hardly the main concern on this blog, but I also think it's interesting to see what she comes up with and compare it with the list of things academic authors both do and don't have control over.

On some points it's strangely the same but mostly starkly different.

It's also worth contemplating how this list would be affected by an evolution towards a radically decentralized ebook model of publishing which would largely disintermediate traditional publishers. Another interesting way to slice and dice Priests points is to consider more precisely how digital distribution and the Napsterization of the book industry could play out.

In any case, let's see what she has to say. It's definitely worth going to her blog and reading the whole post to see her explanations of the points:

Things Authors Mostly Control

  • The words.
  • How we present ourselves to the audience.

Things Authors May Influence in Some Measure

  • The book's title.
  • Who gets review copies of books.
  • Visibility: Part One. A savvy writer can -- if he or she has enough free time and/or disposable cash -- attend conferences and conventions, manage websites regarding his/her books, and network with other authors, readers, booksellers, librarians, and reviewers. It is also up to the writer whether or not to accept interview requests and the like.
  • Visibility: Part Two. BUT. The vast bulk of the writers I know do not have the free time or disposable cash to pick up and jaunt to every convention in every city, much less send themselves on tour. Obviously authors who have reached a certain level of profitability will be invited around (expenses paid), but more often than not these things are paid for out of the author's pocket.* And keep in mind that most of us have day jobs and/or families to juggle.

Things Over Which Authors Have Virtually No Say

  • The cover.
  • The book's cost.
  • Size and format.
  • Distribution.
  • Quality control.
  • Digital availability.
  • Schedule.
  • Foreign availability.
  • Foreign availability in other same-language countries.
  • Turning the book into a movie.

Is Cherie Priest's business model about to be disrupted?

In any case, she also talks a bit about sharing and lending books at the start of the post and I really like what she has to say about the relationship between (mostly public) libraries and mass market publishing.

Libraries are very good markets for books, and we writers love them to bits. You see, if enough people line up to borrow a book, the library will purchase more copies of that book in order to reduce the wait. Therefore, the more people who want to borrow books from the library, the better. Also, libraries tend to be very supportive of writers from a promotional standpoint. They invite us to read, host our events, and often let local booksellers come in to sell copies at these events. To sum up: Libraries are good for authors.

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