New Study Finds Low Levels of Digital Library Borrowing – According to this summary of the latest Book Industry Study Group findings, libraries are not doing a great job of appealing to patrons who read digital books (you can download the executive summary for free here). Of library patrons surveyed, more than half know that their local library has digital lending, but only 25% have actually checked out a digital book in the past year. These are not readers who eschew digital content; they apparently just are not getting it from the library. Why? Well, surprisingly enough (not), it seems to be a lack of interesting digital content:
The report found the biggest impediment preventing patrons from borrowing more e-books was the lack of e-books’ availability, followed by a preference for print books. Another major consideration was that the loan period for e-books is too short. Patrons were also far more satisfied with their library’s selection of print books than for digital content. For example, 90% of patrons were happy with the selection of print adult titles, but only 51% were happy with the choices of e-books. The pattern was repeated across all content categories, including newspapers and magazines. Only 39% of patrons said they were satisfied with the selection of both digital newspapers and magazines, while 65% were happy with the range of print magazines, and 63% satisfied with the selection of print newspapers. – Publishers Weekly
William Shakespeare’s tryst with a female fan – Historians are so thirsty for personal information about William Shakespeare that the discovery of an anecdote (read: second or third-hand gossip) written in the journal of 17th C law student John Manningham will soon be exhibited at the British Museum. Manningham was allegedly a friend of a friend of Shakespeare (through John Donne and Ben Johnson), and the story is being offered as insight into the “real” W.S. The anecdote concerns both Shakespeare and actor Richard Burbage:
After one performance, a female admirer gave Burbage her name and address and invited him to pay her a late-night visit, using the code name ‘Richard III’.
In true Shakespearean comedy style, William overheard this encounter and that evening, when Burbage arrived to call on the woman, the playwright was already on the premises. . .
The diary entry, dated 13 March 1602, forms part of a wider exhibition which Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library, said “will seek to cast a new light on how Shakespeare became the cultural icon he is today”. — The Telegraph
The Georgian Gift Guide – Need a gift inspired by Georgian England for Hanukah or Christmas – or just because it’s December and you can get a lot of crap on sale? Author Donna Thorland has put together a list of creative gifts that harken back to 18th C England and Colonial America. There’s at least one item on that list I’m going to be purchasing (and maybe I’ll even buy a couple extras for gifts!). — Donna Thorland
This New Photo Book Documents Everything We Touch in 24 Hours – Paula Zuccotti, a product designer and “trend forecaster,” has written and photographed a fascinating new book in which she invited a variety of individuals, from friends to artists to people she met online, to document everything they touched within 24 hours. As Zuccotti points out, technology is vastly changing the way we engage with physical objects and consume media. What a fascinating way to think about how we move through our days and interact with our environment.
In her work, Zuccotti has seen firsthand how the behaviors of people across the globe are being altered by technology, infiltrating every aspect of human life. Through work at her consultancy and research laboratory TheOverworld, Zuccotti has witnessed how clients no longer request that the company research individual products. The company is no longer asked to investigate how people watch TV, for example; instead they are tasked with predicting “the future of entertainment”.
“This erodes the links between behavior and objects, affecting the semantics of how we interpret things,” Zuccotti says. “If we see someone with a book we know they are reading, but someone holding a tablet could be watching a movie, booking a holiday, shopping or making a video.”
“As technology becomes more embedded and invisible, it changes our physical interactions with things, sometimes further reducing them, sometimes giving us new objects to play with,” she adds. “In light of these rapid shifts, 2015 seems a ripe moment to capture our objects as they stand today—and their roles as narrators of personalities, preferences and emotions.” — GOOD Magazine