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Thursday News: Shakespeare’s alleged dictionary digitized, cellphones increase literacy, Amazon Prime now includes some HBO shows, and the arrival of e-book art

Thursday News: Shakespeare’s alleged dictionary digitized, cellphones increase literacy, Amazon Prime...

Shakespeare’s Dictionary? Skepticism Abounds. – Count me in on the side of the skeptics. Two booksellers buy a 1580 four-language dictionary on eBay (eBay!!) in 2008, and now claim that it’s Shakespeare’s personal dictionary. If you want to know about the authentication process that will now be undertaken, check out this article in the Chronicle. If you want to see the digitized dictionary, check it out here.

In addition to analyzing the handwriting and marginal marks used by the annotator, the Folger experts wrote, researchers will ask questions like “How many of the words underlined or added in the margins of this copy of the Alvearie are used by Shakespeare and Shakespeare alone, as opposed to other early-modern writers? Further, how many of the words that are not marked or underlined in this copy of Baret are nevertheless present in Shakespeare’s works?” –Chronicle of Higher Education

Cellphones ignite a ‘reading revolution’ in poor countries – UNESCO has released their report based on an enormous, and enormously comprehensive, international study on the effect of cellphone use on digital reading. The study included “nearly 5,000 mobile-phone users in seven countries — Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe — where the average illiteracy rate among children is 20 percent, and 34 percent among adults.” These rates are anywhere from 7 to 10 times higher than the illiteracy rate in the US, to give you a point of comparison. Among other things, the study found that cellphone use can build literacy skills and enjoyment of reading (and clearly these two things are related). Women are particularly drawn to digital reading, which, given their disproportionately high illiteracy rates, holds incredible potential.

“Simply put, once women are exposed to mobile reading, they tend to do it a lot,” the report reads, underscoring the potential benefits that digital books could yield for female literacy. Among the estimated 770 million illiterate adults in the world today, nearly two-thirds are women, and female education still carries a cultural stigma in many poor countries. –The Verge

Amazon Makes a Big Move, Snags Older HBO Shows for Web Streaming – This is pretty interesting, when you consider how much HBO has benefited from the innovation and popularity of its original programming. With Amazon including many original HBO shows in its Amazon Prime instant video lineup, will HBO be able to sustain its market share? Considering the fact that they did not give up shows like “Game of Thrones” suggests that subscribers (like me) will continue to pay for both services. But should a choice need to be made, it could be a toss up, considering all of the other videos Amazon users have access to. HBO has never allowed any other streaming media service access to its catalogue, and one estimate pegs the value of the shows as anywhere from $200 million to $500 million, depending on other shows HBO might allow Amazon to stream.

Some of the shows that Amazon customers won’t see, including “Sex and the City,” “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” have their streaming rights tied up in syndication deals with TV outlets. And HBO has kept at least one of its shows – “Game of Thrones” — out of the deal, simply because the property is so valuable to the network, according to a person familiar with the transaction. –re/code

Ebook-Inspired Art: Center for Book Arts Nods at How Digital Is Changing Everything – An interesting exhibition at the Center for Book Arts that includes at least one contemplation of the way digital books can be re-conceptualized as art objects, 40 years after the Center initially opened. And really, why shouldn’t digital reading be part of the book arts? After all, digital books require a physical shell, even if it’s not paper. And there are probably now a boatload of Sony Readers available for repurposing. . .

Titled Once Upon a Time, There Was the End and curated by Rachel Gugelberger, an independent curator, the art explored repeating patterns, organic forms and the cycle of life. It also touched on digital publishing with this work:

It’s a piece by artist Ellen Harvey. It’s three plexiglass mirrors with images of e-readers and e-reading apps etched onto them, mounted onto “lumisheets” (an LED light panel) and framed in plexiglass. The piece is titled Looking-Glass iPad, Kindle & Nook and the images are reversed (like in a mirror). –Digital Book World

Wednesday News: Free access from Oxford U Press this week, the state of digital journalism, Shakespeare’s plays as webcomics, and  celebrating librarians

Wednesday News: Free access from Oxford U Press this week, the...

Oxford University Press Gives You Free Access to Books, Dictionaries & More During National Library Week – So while you can’t access Oxford academic journals, in honor of National Library Week, Oxford University Press is offering free access to a number of its texts, including its dictionaries. So if you’ve ever wanted to peruse the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) but don’t have access, now is the time.

Access will be open until the end of Saturday, the 19th. You will be able to read Oxford’s online dictionaries, online scholarly editions, extensive reference materials, and the popular series of Very Short Introductions,. . . (To access the texts, type “libraryweek” as the username and password in the Subscriber Login area. It appears halfway down the page, on the left.) –Open Culture

Digital journalism: we’re still waiting for the third model of news publishing – A provocative blog entry considering the way in which the “studio system” model of journalism is perceived to be more likely to succeed than a “publishing monolith.” Can a platform that seeks to serve many through journalistic content succeed? Emily Bell is not convinced, and her discussion of what she calls “entrepreneurial journalism” is both depressing and engaging.

Long-term commitment and availability of capital are changing how we think about digital journalism. Baron’s conviction that the world won’t end with Klein’s departure is as likely to be right as the idea that Vox will be successful. We are still waiting, though, for a third model of news publishing to emerge. A news organisation that holds institutional strengths, beliefs and resources at its core but allows the rise of the independently oriented journalist some freedom to succeed or fail is still at the drawing board stage. –The Guardian

All of Shakespeare’s Plays, Converted to 3-Panel Webcomics – This might be better than when the plays were converted to graphic novels. Although they’re not ALL three panels. Although Titus Andronicus’s single panel might be my favorite, Henry VI Part 3 in five panels is pretty great, too. –i09

9 Reasons Why Librarians Are Awesome – A cute piece celebrating librarians. –Buzzfeed