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March 2009

In Smart Libraries Newsletter This Month:

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National Endowment for the Arts: Reading on the Rise
by Tom Peters

"For several decades, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has been studying the reading habits of American adults. For most of the past 26 years, the number of Americans who read has trended downward. The 2004 NEA report Reading at Risk featured alarming numbers describing America's declining reading habits. This report caused quite a stir and led to various new initiatives, including NEA's own Big Read Initiative, to address the problem."

 

"In mid-January 2009, however, NEA released a new report, “Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy,” that indicates a reversal of the trends of the past several decades. In his preface to the report, Dana Gioia, the outgoing NEA Chairman, notes that the report “documents a significant turning point in recent American cultural history.” Across all the usual demographic lines (age, sex, race, ethnicity and educational levels), reading is on the rise. The report focuses on literary reading, which it defines as the reading of any novels, short stories, poems, or plays in print or online for purposes other than work or school."


Also in this Issue

Summon: A New Search Service from Serials Solutions
by Marshall Breeding

Serials Solutions announced a new discovery service called Summon that aims to provide a unified search tool for library users. The goal of this tool is to provide access to all of a library's content, print and electronic, through a single search box.

At the heart of summon lies a very large index of content that the company is building from a variety of sources. This index includes the full text of a large body of articles provided by many different publishers as well as open access content. Summon aims to expand its index to include all of the content represented in a library's collection of subscriptions, its local print holdings and other resources.

An Environmental Scan

by Tom Peters

At ALA's 2009 Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Atiz Innovation, a Los Angeles-based privately held company founded in 2005, unveiled a new book scanner machine for libraries and other organizations that want or need to engage in mass digitization projects. The Book-Drive Pro is designed to be faster and more affordable to libraries and other organizations while offering high-quality digitized images. According to Atiz, the BookDrive Pro can scan up to 700 pages per hour.

Biblios.net: An Open Content Bibliographic Service from LibLime

by Marshall Breeding

LibLime, a company that bases its business on providing services for open source software, has launched a new project called biblios.net. Biblios.net is a new cataloging tool for libraries with access to a large pool of MARC records. The service consists of two components: biblios, a Web-based cataloging interface and biblios.net, the repository of MARC records.