Odyssey Online


February 5, 2014 · Comments Off on ASCII Art

…while not exactly a topic of burning interest to libraries, Atlantic Online ran a well written essay that harkens back to the time when the Internet was made entirely of words, the character based Internet.  The time of gophers, usenet groups, telnet and FTP, the days of the blue “throbber” Netscape N:


A long time ago, remembered vividly in The Lost Ancestors of ASCII Art by Alexis C. Madrigal where he documents how people drew with keyboards, what people drew with keyboards, and how people will, as Madrigal puts it, “make art with anything.”  For those of us who can remember this green-or-orange-letters-on-a-black background Internet, the piece is evocative of the ‘Net that used to be–a Internet you might get a sense of by reading The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier by Howard Rheingold, or Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte, or The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, or Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet by Sherry Turkle…

…or by watching the Telnet Star Wars, captured now, appropriately enough, as a youtube video…

Comments Off on ASCII ArtCategories: Essay on Technology · Licklider's Legacy

Holiday Reading

December 18, 2013 · Comments Off on Holiday Reading

green_xmass_ballWhile at this writing Finals Week everyone in the SLU Community is far too busy with the reading at hand to be sampling the odd book, or the book oddly recommended, it will soon be holiday reading season.  Still dazed perhaps from the considerable chill that late December weather has brought I’m turning to two intriguing book lists that late December Internet wandering brought to my attention.  The first is The Best Food Books of 2013 compiled by Corby Kummer for Atlantic Magazine.  The list includes suggestions such as Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way by Tanya Bastinich Manuali, The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat by Michael Ruhlman, and Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving by Kevin West. An absolutely appetizing range of books–the other suggestions really turns a page from food and is Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Reading List, Books of 2013.  In keeping with EFF’s mission, this list includes titles like Coding Freedom by Gabriella Coleman, This Machine Kills Secrets by Andy Greenberg, and To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov. Important and challenging reading, but relevant to anyone who spends any time online.

Admittedly not all of this books grace the shelves of ODY or Launders, but once our short Christmas break is done they could be garnered via Interlibrary Loan, or perhaps found at one of our neighboring libraries in the North Country Library System.  Safe travels and happy reading to all…

Comments Off on Holiday ReadingCategories: Books · Essay on Bibliography

The Year’s Books from Atlantic Magazine

December 10, 2013 · Comments Off on The Year’s Books from Atlantic Magazine

The Editors of Atlantic Magazine have compiled a list of the books they read last year and recommend. These are not necessarily 2012-2013 published books…there are some classics here that the editors got around to reading in the year past. It’s a good list, wide ranging in topic and in genre.  Lots of good suggestions for holiday book…

Comments Off on The Year’s Books from Atlantic MagazineCategories: Books

Obituary on the Letter E

December 9, 2013 · Comments Off on Obituary on the Letter E

In Wired Magazine Joshua David Stein argues that the Internet is dissolving the letter E.  Not a shocking argument insofar as the English language is constantly evolving (“selfie” is the newest addition to the OED),

gothic-letter-e-tattooand texts like Across the Pond : an Englishman’s View of America by Terry Eagleton, The Cambridge History of the English Language (6 volumes!), or The English Language: Structure and Development by Stanley Hussey will document the elasticity of English. Stein argues there is an economic imperative imperiling, he quotes Flickr’s creator: “‘Being E-free,” agrees Esther Dyson, a venture capitalist and an early investor in Flickr, “distinguishes you from the run-of-the-mill vowel-infested world.’” Between E and capitalism is a “vowel-infested world.” Today has taken on Miltonian overtones…

Comments Off on Obituary on the Letter ECategories: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · Yikes!

Doris Lessing

November 18, 2013 · Comments Off on Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing died this weekend at age 94.  Vicki Barker at National Public Radio wrote this thoughtful and insightful tribute to Lessing’s life and work. We have forty titles by Lessing in the SLU Libraries’ collections, and this list represents a sampling of the literature about Lessing’s works that are here in ODY:

Comments Off on Doris LessingCategories: Books · Recommended Book

Friday Blogging, Academic Blogging

November 8, 2013 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, Academic Blogging

Two blog posts arguing the place of blogging in academic writing–“Blogs as Catalysts” by Daniel Little and “Six Years of Understanding Society” by Jay Ulfelder.  Both men make the case that blogging allows them to put ideas in play that they can hone into more polished academic work.  In the words Ulfelder: “You might say I’ve become an ‘open-source’ philosopher — as I get new ideas about a topic I develop them through the blog. This means that readers can observe ideas in motion.” Back in the 1970’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus had a skit about Thomas Hardy writing in front of cheering crowd, a comedy peace about writing as essentially solitary, but the dynamic Little and Ulfelder is the rough draft as public document not played for laughs, it’s about a reconceptualizing of private and public writing space.  Now, mixing those two things up is not always a good idea, but an “open-source” progression for an idea connect to a voice, an authorial voice, has interesting bibliographic possibilities in how different researchers may cite to different variations on the same idea.  That one idea may find itself in different research in different rhetorical lights…akin perhaps to the photographs of a person in the different periods of their life, the same person, but a distinct persona.


Comments Off on Friday Blogging, Academic BloggingCategories: Essay on Technology · The Academic Internet

Friday Blogging, John Updike

November 4, 2013 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, John Updike

The Library of American has just released a two volume edition of John Updike’s Collected Stories.  In the online publication The Millions James Santel has a lucid but very slightly sad review that with remarkable concision states the case both for and against Updike’s work.  At issue is Updike’s “metronomic virtuosity” as a writer, and whether “beauty is enough.”  Perhaps all questions of what beauty can ultimately do are very slightly sad, and while we don’t have the Collected Stories in the collection yet, we will, and we do have 72 books by Updike, including the wonderful pictured collection of short stories (written early in his career).

This little space being sympathetic to Updike a brilliant sunlight just the other side of daylight savings day like today might do well to include an Updike short story, imperfect, beautiful…

Comments Off on Friday Blogging, John UpdikeCategories: Books · Essay on Bibliography

Lou Reed

October 28, 2013 · Comments Off on Lou Reed

Lou Reed died over the weekend.  Reed certainly attained a culturally iconic status, such that his death makes one pause (and makes me think how he figures into the living breathing collection at ODY).  The Daily Beast has a nice “set list” of music and performances by Reed on the open web, and here is a juke box of titles by and about Reed in our collection:


Comments Off on Lou ReedCategories: Books · Recommended Book

Friday Blogging: Neil Gaiman on Libraries and Reading

October 18, 2013 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging: Neil Gaiman on Libraries and Reading

On Tuesday of this week The Guardian published a transcription of a lecture by writer Neil Gaiman on the topic of reading and libraries.  It is long, it is aimed at a British audience, but it is also an impassioned defense of reading fiction and of libraries.  There are many quotable passages in the lecture, among them:

But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.

Toward the end of the lecture Gaiman makes the case for a responsible citizens “obligation to day dream.” A wonderful weekend read…

Comments Off on Friday Blogging: Neil Gaiman on Libraries and ReadingCategories: Books · Essay on Bibliography

New Materials on William Shakespeare

October 9, 2013 · Comments Off on New Materials on William Shakespeare

The American Shakespeare Center is making it’s annual visit to St. Lawrence, presenting Henry IV Part I, Othello, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Thusly it’s time to publish our annual selection of notable new materials we’ve acquired, both those new editions of the plays, and new books about Shakespeare.

Comments Off on New Materials on William ShakespeareCategories: Books

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