Mystery in the Library

A colleague e-mailed me the other day expressing appreciation for the DLTJ blog in part, and also describing a mystery that she is running in her library:

Blah

Adrian (MN) Police Chief Shawn Langseth gathering evidence in the library “crime”.

Because I am staring out the window, at yet another snow-storm-in-the-works, having just learned that school is called off AGAIN (waiting for the library urchins to pour in), I am trying to get caught up on life outside of a small prairie town.

To combat some serious winter blues (and who doesn’t have them this year?), we have decided to have a just-for-fun “crime spree” at our library. Thus far, the local Chief of Police has no leads (he has graciously agreed to participate and has been kept in the dark as to the identities of the perpetrators). We decided that having a crime spree might be a more interesting way to get people to talk about the library.

Thursday Threads: Consumer E-book Commitment, University Press Shorts, Improv Everwhere

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Two serious threads this week and one fun one. The first serious story is a look at the attitudes of e-book consumers from the Book Industry Study Group, including a finding that almost half of all e-book consumers would wait for an electronic edition up to three months after the print edition has been released. The second serious story is about a university press starting to sell excerpts from backlist titles as a way to capitalize on existing content. And finally, the fun story is a 12 minute TED talk from the founder of the Improv Everywhere project.

DLTJ the Target of Real Dead-Tree Junk Mail

Dorothea Salo started a conversation late last year that was picked up by Walt Crawford and others about receiving unsolicited “PR spam” with the expectation that the content of the message will be blogged about. In a related matter, I got my first example today of someone scraping DLTJ to send me junk mail through the U.S. postal service.

Junk Mail to DLTJ’s President, Tom Wilson [?]

Pointless E-mail Disclaimers

I’ve been collecting disclaimers that appear on the bottom of e-mail messages in a draft post on DLTJ for about a year now — every time I’d get a new one with a different twist, I’d save it anticipating the day would come that there would be enough humor here to share with the rest of you. That day has come. There wasn’t one that disclaimer that finally pushed the publication of this post over the edge; just the accumulation of examples. Identifying information has been removed, but the humor was left intact. If you recognize your institution/company in these examples, please laugh along with me. If you are the lawyer or pseudo-lawyer that drafted these, please do us all a favor and find something else to work on. Like drafting disclaimers for toothpicks and such.

Feeling the Holiday Spirit? Check With Your Lawyers To See if it is Okay

You may have given away your right to feel the holiday spirit via some click-through license dreamed up by an over-exuberant lawyer. Don’t believe me? Anything is possible in the world of contracts; read on…

An in-law sent me a flash animation card from a site called “Elf Yourself” ™ — no link love here, guess the URL or find it in Google — that has some cartoon elves dancing with the images of this in-law’s family’s faces superimposed on the cartoons. It was cute, and I contemplated sending a reply with the faces of my family. As I typically do, I scanned through the Terms of Use that one must accept before starting and the word “universe” caught my eye. “Self,” I said to myself, “why would the word universe be in the Terms of Use?” So went back and read the entire Terms of Use, and the good bit is in “Grant of Rights” (my own emphasis added):

Child Rearing Through HTTP Status Codes

Long time readers of DLTJ know that I rarely post commentary outside the realm of disruptive library technology to this blog, much less reflections of personal, non-work life. This will be an exception, though, because it straddles that boundary between technology and family. It is called REST for toddlers and it comes to us from the “dive into mark” blog. By way of explanation, REST (as a technology term, not as used in the sentence “parents with young children often which they had a chance to rest.”) is an acronym for Representational State Transfer, a way of constructing URLs so that they are useful outside the context of your current web browsing session (e.g. bookmarkable and/or e-mailable to someone else). REST rides atop the HTTP protocol, of which section 10 of the specification talks about response codes from clients to servers. What Mark has done is offer a real-life explanation of some of those response codes in the context of child-rearing. A sample: