Monday, August 29, 2005

If you have a long memory, you may recall that I gave a plug to the Samuel Pepys Diary website - well here's another great use of the weblog idea, Franz Kafka's diaries. It doesn't have the same resonance as the Pepys site, because it doesn't try to correlate dates in the calendar in quite the same way, but it does highlight the enigmatic quality of every day life - so that new meanings flow from quite ordinary sentences and ordinary events.

Must be summer - there's another issue of Information for Social Change online. The contents include: E-Books; Public Libraries, Information, Communities, Social Exclusion and Culture; Copyright, Libraries in Nigeria and some good book reviews, including a review of Helen Macfarlane: a feminist, revolutionary journalist and philosopher in mid-nineteenth century England by David Black. Macfarlane was the first person to translate the Communist Manifesto into English, although she was forced to hide her own writing behind a male pseudonym. There is also a neat little piece by Martyn Lowe "Going to the Movies". Don't be put off by the slightly worthy "professional" tone of IfSC - because all the important current social, political and economic issues related to the "Information Economy" are discussed in its various editions - and nobody else is really covering them. But...the issues raised in IfSC are too important for discussion to be restricted to "professional" circles...View it online or available as a pdf download.

The Ecologist is good at explaining contemporary environmental and social issues in ordinary language without patronising its readership, so it is a pity the magazine doesn't make a little more use of its website to promote the paper-based version, as it has important, well-informed and topical articles in nearly every issue. That said the website does offer one fantastic resource, which is free online access to the full text of hundreds of feature articles that have appeared in the Ecologist magazine since November 2002. You will need to register.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

John Carey: The Intellectual and the Masses
John Cary's book seems to have given the literary pot a big stir - and rightly so. Michael Allen has written a perceptive summary of Cary's argument on his blog Grumpy Old Bookman.
One point which was neglected by Cary and which I have not seen mentioned elsewhere is that much of what is claimed as elite culture - in art as well as literature - originally started life with the intention of cracking the smug facade of the "culture establishment" in its own time. The writers and artists were derided, ridiculed, and attacked for what they created, and for challenging elite cultural values. It was only after time, when "sausage machine" culture had safely redefined and repackaged it for popular culture - turning it into a commodity whenever possible - that such works which were once avant-garde were transformed into elite cultural forms. Still I've said enough, read Michael's excellent piece.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The unacknowledged convergence of open source, open access, and open science
First Monday is to be congratulated for publishing this absorbing article by John Willinsky which examines the impact of open source software and open access on intellectual property rights.(Thanks to "Library Link of the Day" for drawing it to my my attention.)

Same weekend as the Anarchist Book Fair, the Small Publishers' Fair will take place a the Conway Hall on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October 11am - 7pm
Red Lion Square, Holborn, London, WC1 There will also be readings & events in the Brockway Room all day on Saturday 22nd

There's also advance warning for this year's Anarchist Bookfair which will be held on Saturday 22 October 10am - 6pm at the Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7
There will be 80 bookstalls, and the events programme has still to be announced, but make sure you put it in your diary.

"Another year and a bigger venue. This year we're at the London Voluntary Sector Resource Centre on the Holloway Road in North London. Just a couple of hundred metres from the Holloway Road tube station it's a convenient location. We've moved because we've needed a bigger space. Grab a stall, organise a meeting, or just turn up on the day with the three thousand other people."

"Gunpowder, Treason & Plot! Political Subversion in the Library" is the title of a series of lectures to be held by the Association of Independent Libraries on Friday and Saturday 4-5 November 2005 at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution.
The cost is £30 including a reception on the Friday evening and lunch on Saturday. The full programme is still to be confirmed but contact details are available on the AIL website.