Interesting blog post re using mind mapping software to map relationships between books in an old library, their annotations etc.
Archive for March, 2013
The Guardian newspaper today posted an article in its online blogs reflecting on predictions for 2013 made by futurologists back in 1988. As a historian, and also a computer science graduate used to seeing rapid changes in technology, it was interesting to see how much the futurologists at the time guessed correctly, and how much was wrong. Though my own historical research tends to look far back in time it’s not unusual for people, including historians, to try to assess what will happen in the future, based at least in part on the past.
Anyway I recommend having a look at it, for entertainment if nothing else. I wonder how accurate any predictions for 2050 made now would be.
I really enjoyed this blog post by writer Michael Jecks, in particular what he wrote about ebooks. Most of all: “Because the most important thing about books is not, really, whether they are on paper, an electronic screen, or carved with care into blocks of granite. The important thing is, that they are read.” which echoes so strongly with my own views.
Writing books is a funny way to try to earn a crust. Authors are expected to be slightly odd characters (and most of us can live up – or down – to that), with peculiar insights which can be gained only by using illegal drugs or by excessive quantities of legal ones. I tend to the second.
But being a writer, for me, was a way not so much of earning a living, but of continuing my delight in and with books.
I have always loved books. I find it deeply, humiliatingly, hypocritical still, to be telling off my son for reading under his bedclothes, when I can still remember doing the same thing myself at his age. And, oddly enough, reading the same William books as he is now. Exactly the same in most cases, since the thieving little brute has filched my ancient hardbacks.
Books have accompanied me…
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Research Councils UK has today published new guidance on Open Access publishing. There are some changes, including greater addressing of the green Open Access route, and relaxations on speed of implementation, and differing timings for e.g. humanities. But there is still no section addressing the issue of independent scholars, and the increased personal cost that they may face under this new scheme. The Research Councils are offering extra funding to pay for APC charges, but this is based on institutions, and block grants. This is of no benefit to non-affiliated independent scholars like me.
I’m still finding this incredibly frustrating. My AHRC-funded PhD thesis is freely available online, in PDF form, but I’m being penalised and restricted re future publishing based on it. This is the case even when the content from the PhD is only a tiny little bit of a paper with mostly new research. So I either don’t publish, expunge the PhD bit, or break the rules.
And I’m in favour of Open Access, as seen by my thesis already being freely available. But I’m not in favour of Open Access the way RCUK are pushing it through.
I’ve been writing a number of informal articles for a pair of upcoming Doctor Who books, each looking at stories in the classic (1996 and earlier) or new (post 2005) series, and the impact they’ve had on fans watching. I was writing as a fan, have been since I was extremely young, and the articles are predominantly informal pieces.
One article that I didn’t get to include in the books is about the pair of of 2008 episodes Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead, a two-part story. But the editor encouraged me to write it anyway, and it’s been posted on the book’s website as an example of the sort of thing the books contain. And because it’s academic, and in particular book history related, I’m linking to it here. Very lightly academic-related. Issues touched on include ebooks versus print books, and the decline and closure of libraries. And other stuff!