Monthly Archives: January 2009


I’m perpetually amazed at how I’m always late and a day behind regarding stuff like music and Web 2.0.  Case in point: I’ve just noticed the additions to the image editing site BeFunky.  As if the functionality wasn’t groovy enough,  they’ve compiled even more options for optimizing the gonzofication of your photos.  Use the cartoonizer, warholizer, scribbler, inkifier, charcola, etc to add varying degrees of wowza to your pics.  It’s a perfect tool to use for editing when using comic life.  Not to mention seamless integration into your networking sites has been taken care of.


I almost feel badly that the site is free and I have little creatistic ability to begin with.

review – sightseeing

lapBe on the lookout for writer Rattawut Lapcharoensap. His recent collection of stories, titled Sightseeing, is a piercing work that finds a very comfortable balance between the foreignness of Thailand (to an american farang like myself) and the all-too-familiar human condition.

Though primarily a collection of coming-of-age stories, Lapcharoensap very cleverly approaches his writing with effortless characterization from various social backgrounds and viewpoints. Whether female, male, young, aged or foreign (American, Thai, Cambodian) all of his characters equally face the unattractive prospect of receiving life’s kicks to the teeth well before they’re good and ready.

Perhaps Lapcharoensap may be characterised as the Thai-American equivalent of Larry David, as his characters are often placed in dangerously uncomfortable situations with only their wit to provide comfort. Situations involving elephants and pet pigs named Clint Eastwood, finding “luck” in avoiding the Thai military draft, an american’s involuntary assisted living in Thailand, and the extremes taken to quit the local cockfighting circuit, these stories are both sadly moving yet familiar; thus, they’re nostalgically comforting, as we can relate with our own colorful and cultural equivalents. Sightseeing is aptly named, as it truly is an eye-opening account of the both the foreign and familiar.

new music – jolie holland

jolSometimes there appears a voice heard on the periphery, and once you hear it you can only hear it again and again; it’s like eating at the Bellagio Buffet, with all the style and variety there is no option but to consume more until explosion is imminent.

Such is the case with Jolie Holland. As with other alt-country sirens such as Neko Case, Holland is deliciously, completely captivating, particularly on her new album The Living and the Dead.  Her voice is so full and nuanced that without careful attention to her lyrics one can and probably will hang on her every note like a shipwrecked Greek sailor.

More so than on previous releases, Holland raises the tempo on this album, making it more accessible for newbies.  And though I am scrambling to recollect the milieu of her past releases, I can say that The Living and the Dead is more oriented toward rock ‘n roll than it typically would be a clever mash of blues, folk and country.  Another reason why I favor L&D is the inclusion of some first rate guitarists such as M. Ward and Marc Ribot lending their talents.

As if Holland didn’t already emulate the alt-country / southwestern genre at its most unique, this particular album cements her emergence.  Mexico City, Corrido por Buddy, and Palmyra are immaculate, with Fox in its Hole and Your Big Hands as the other standout songs.   Though quality, the remaining songs just don’t reach the heights as the others, and thus the album as a whole is slightly incomplete for me; were a different closing song chosen rather than the more frolicky Enjoy Yourself, L&D would have been less anti-climactic and thus perfect.

Nevertheless, Jolie Holland is absurdly captivating.

LibraryThing assimilated?


Like pixels across the interwebs:

Under the terms of agreement, CIG has purchased a minority stake in LibraryThing and has designated Bowker as the exclusive worldwide distributor for the library marketplace of LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL), LibraryThing’s flagship library product. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The addition of LTFL to Bowker and ProQuest’s growing suite of offerings, including AquaBrowser Library®, demonstrates CIG’s continued commitment to helping librarians and their patrons embrace Web 2.0 technologies to enhance and improve the efficacy of their book search and discovery efforts.

Tim Spalding, el jefe of all things LT, is confident this minority buy-in is a win-win situation:

Our shot. I have a simple internal label for this deal: We are going to get our shot. LibraryThing has done very well considering its humble origins and structure. If we had gone the venture capital route we’d have started with a lot more money, but we’d have to “flip it” about now–just when things were getting exciting. Instead, this deal means we get to keep our souls, and get our full shot at making and LibraryThing for Libraries everything we want them to be. That’s a wonderful opportunity.

For members, this is also great news. You’ve waited a long time for some features, and scaling has been a problem. Everything can’t happen right away, but it can happen. With your help and criticism we can continue to build the site you want, and support the community you created.

Not sure how this will play out.  Obviously, both sides get something out of this deal, though for posterity I will remain borderline skeptical.  Either way, now we play the waiting game.



Neko Case, for those unawares.

digitization – the scanning part

So, assuming you have thought a plan and planned your thought, you’re ready to digitize.   Creating a decent collection using an application like CONTENTdm is surprisingly straightforward. Indeed, this second phase, if you know what you’re doing, takes the least amount of time.

Regarding the actual digitization, you don’t need the most current or advanced equipment, only a little knowledge of the scanning and archival process. When working with photographs, here are some considerations:

  • Always create a layer of copies: Create a master set of copies that will not need any touchup.  These are the true backups; save them in the TIFF file format – though they will be large in file size, they will remain uncompressed and unchanged. For images that will be touched up with Photoshop or Piknik/Fotoflexer, etc, use the JPEG format – there’s little sacrifice in quality with good compression.
  • Watch your resolution.  We use Epson scanners, and when working with textual documents, we will scan with 300 PPI/DPI.  For photographic images, here’s our process: Take the longer side of your image and divide 3000 by it; this will be your approximate scanning resolution.  Inaccurate resolutions will create scans with both inaccurate clarity and file size.  To be avoided.
  • Make sure your metadata is created beforehand.  This streamlines the process and avoids confusion with similar photos.  Also, your metadata dictates the the how thorough your collection is.  Your collection is only as good as your metadata.
  • Save your copies/backups in numerous places.  If you’re fortunate enough to have server space, place your masters and working copies there, as well as on a writable disc.  If in an academic or business institution and you have a shared drive, place them there.  Keep your physical copies in acid-free containers in your archives or wherever it’s consistently cool and dry.
  • Be consistent in your work and the workers you choose for the projects.  Inconsistency will create inconsistent metadata, collections, etc.
  • Start small; don’t get involved too early with compound objects (multiple images for the same object); they’re not necessarily complicated to scan, but using CONTENTdm’s compound object functionlity is not all that intuitive.

These are just a few considerations.  For more on the terminology, take a look at my LibGuide for digitization terminology, formats and whatnot.  It deals with a little more detail concerning the basics.

new music – the killers

killersI suppose it makes perfect sense. The Killers are a band from the motherland, Las Vegas; like my sojourns there, when I listen to their music I’m hypnotized, drugged if you will, on the gonzo vibes pulsating from the lights, the food, the street vendors dexterously flicking their “business” cards, the broken dreams.

Such a veritable, palpable foetor is preeminent from their new album Day & Age. Like a much needed reprieve from the heat of the southwestern sun, their songs illuminate the highs and lows of the gonzo lifestyle.

It’s an excellent album. Compared to previous releases, the voice of lead singer Brandon Flowers is more mellow and measured. That, however, certainly doesn’t detract from the lyrical ominousness of the band’s most solid album to date.

Ominous it is. As balanced as his singing is, Flowers tells of “the wilder side of gold and glitz”, cops stealing dreams and killing prayers, and the feeble attempts to pray for self control during the night of a thousand thrills.

All the songs are soaked in anachronistic synth and melancholy, all worthy from start to end. Indeed, there are more standouts on this album than previously offered. Aside from the more popular singles Human and Losing Touch, pay close attention to This is Your Life and most especially Neon Tiger; it’s an epic crescendo of an effervescent fear of uncertainty. Overall, Day & Age is not an album to be missed.