Thursday, January 14, 2010

January links

I need to read and understand this better, but Char Booth has written an article in Library Journal about data visualization which I just can's seem to get my head around ... yet.

I found a new, interesting blog: Go To Hellman. It was brought to my attention in the discussion about ebooks. Here is the second post. And here is a third one.

The wonderful Jenny Levine wrote a great post about Twitter and policies (oh, and ALA). I am thinking I should find the time to consolidate all that I have learned into a new post.

In a really "library geek" vein, there is a post on ALA Techsource about RDA and FRBR -- which are supposed to replace AACR2. This post has some diagrams which help explain. (The bottom line for the non library geeks is that it should make our catalogs/access systems much more user friendly, and theoretically even better than Amazon or Google!)

And finally in this list, and to bring it back full circle, Ryan Deschamps has written about the future of the library and Seth Godin's comments. Read it here. [I have an issue with the title, it should not be "Neither Libraries Nor Information is Free" but "Neither Libraries Nor Information Are Free." Grammatically, both "libraries" and "information" are plural nouns, and the conjunction compounds the pluralness.]


  1. Ooooh grammar challenge. Everything depends on the pluralness of the word 'information' because in neither/nor you have to take the conjugation of the subject that is closest to the verb.

    Technically information is plural, yes - but common usage tends toward the singular. Since I'm parodying the phrase 'Information wants to be free', I think it is appropriate to use the singular here.

    If I reversed it to say 'neither information nor libraries is free' I would be unambiguously wrong, however.

  2. Oh, sigh. "Information" is a mass noun. (For most of us, "data" has become a mass noun, but it's not unambiguously so. You can have one datum, but there's no such thing as one information.)

    As a mass noun, "information" normally takes the singular, at least in American English. At least that's the way I'd argue it. So I think Ryan's wording was right. (Can you really argue that "Information want to be free" is grammatical, much less correct?)

  3. OK...Walt, you are (as you so often are) correct. However, I would argue that Ryan's grammar is still unambiguously incorrect because of the conjunction, which combines "information" and "libraries." Even if both of them were singular, or treated so in the language, the conjunction creates a plural subject for the sentence.