A Brief History of Hashtags

Posted on January 19, 2018 in General  |  0 Comments

We see them everywhere–#livingthegoodlife, #yolo, #squadgoals, etc. They pop up in our Facebook feeds, on Twitter, and Instagram. People even speak in hashtag now, though usually with of tinge of irony (let’s hope). But, what are hashtags, really? If you aren’t active in the Twitterverse or Instagram, hashtags tend to be things you just notice and ignore. And for many of us born before the internet explosion, a hashtag is just a “pound sign” from the old rotary phone of our childhoods. So, what is their purpose, and has that purpose changed?

According to Wikipedia, the hashtag was created in the 2000’s, mainly for Twitter. Technically, it is known as a “metadata tag,” which is basically a keyword assigned to a piece of information, sort of like a bookmark. It makes it easier for people to find messaging according to theme across a wide variety of social networks, i.e. #catswearingsweaters or #thingsgrandmasays. Hashtags organize messages sort of like a library or a bookstore organizes books according to subject–if you really like cats wearing sweaters then you can find every Instagram post attached to that hashtag simply by clicking on that specific hashtagged word. Easy, right?

Interestingly, this method of categorization was introduced off-hand by a twitter user in 2007 as a way to group messages for easy searchability. The hashtag was initially aimed at those who were technologically “impaired,” for lack of a better term. This new approach didn’t catch on until a rash of significant events around the world caused Twitter users to create hashtags to keep track of updates, and now hashtags are used around the world. Separate rules have even been created for languages that use characters instead of letters.

As of 2014, “hashtag” has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary. And the hashtag is so popular now that strict social rules have evolved, and one can either be ostracized from a conversation entirely or have their Twitter account suspended. One, two hashtags at most are allowing per post, anything more than that–you’re fired (metaphorically).

What started out as just a Twitter thing has now infiltrated most, if not all, social media platforms and is now a key player in advertising for commercials, sporting events, political campaigns, movies, breaking news, the list goes on. The hashtag even has a starring role on the late night talk show circuit, with Jimmy Fallon, for instance, performing a weekly hashtag bit. Check this out for a few laughs courtesy Fallon and Justin Timberlake on the subject. Who knows? Someday that automated voice over the phone might direct you to push the “hashtag” for “yes.”

Proceed to Conference Confusion, Please

Posted on January 17, 2018 in Documents Delivered, General  |  0 Comments

One request genre we frequently encounter in our line of work is conference proceedings. Proceedings usually refer to a collection of academic papers or abstracts, printed specifically for use surrounding a conference, either before or after the conference has concluded. Conferences are a wonderful resource for the latest technological and medical discoveries, thus it makes sense that so many clients would like information from them. Often we find that our clients aren’t even sure what exactly they are expecting to receive from the proceedings, which is why we are devoting this space to the subject. So, please do keep reading.

Proceedings can include research articles prepared by speakers or contributing scholars from the event. Alternately, they can merely contain abstracts for presentations given. An abstract by an author may be published in one journal, yet that title’s full-length paper could be published in another journal, in another year, or not at all.

Oftentimes proceedings are published as “special issues” or supplemental issues of related journals. We sometimes see the name of the conference confused with the title of the publication issuing the abstracts/papers. Some publish in hard copy only, some publish in online sources explicitly, and some utilize both media. In terms of cataloging, sometimes they are considered a standalone book, while other times they are treated as a serial, as conferences usually repeat annually, and given an ISSN.

Furthermore, some authors prefer to retain their information. As a courtesy, when we are unable to locate an item as being available within our library network, we will offer to attempt to contact the publisher, or in this case, the author would be more appropriate since the item may not published.

The short of it all: conference proceedings can be confusing and inconsistent, for you and for us. Sometimes we cannot decipher a citation just by looking at it, and we find out what you’re after once our retrievers get to the library shelf. Will it be a full paper or an abstract? Sometimes we just can’t tell. If you ever have any questions about your proceedings orders, don’t hesitate to contact us and to inform us of your expectations when placing your order. That way, we’re all on the same page. Literally.

The True, the Weird, and the What?!

Posted on January 15, 2018 in General  |  0 Comments

“There is never a dull moment in the life of a public library. We open our doors and anyone can come in, so we never know quite what to expect and every day is very different.” –Anonymous author of a Guardian article

For your reading pleasure/wonder, we have collected just a handful of interesting stories from librarians who cared to share their stories on the world wide web. Like the anonymous author aptly posed above, anything can and does happen.

#1 A submitted story from people who work in libraries.
There’s a book of stories collected by Gina Sheridan, who created the Tumblr page “I work at a public library,” of all the library stories she’s collected from the page. It’s called I work at a public library: a collection of crazy stories from the stacks. Here are a few excerpts.

“A man entered the library with a stack of papers.
Man: Can you file my taxes for me?
Me: I’m sorry, I can’t. But I can share with you information on how to find help filing your taxes if you’d like.
Man: I just don’t feel like dealing with them, you know? Well, can I just leave these papers here for a minute while I go get something?
Me: Sure.
It’s one week later and he still hasn’t come back.”

A patron brought in his own (large) TV and game console and set them up in a study room. He played for hours with no explanation or disruption.”

“101, eBay
Patron [calling from the public copy machine]: ‘Hello, can you help me photocopy this purse so I can post it on eBay?’
Staff patiently helped her photograph the item and explained how to go about uploading it.
Patron [standing in front of the public scanner]: ‘Now how do I scan money to get it into Paypal? In case I need to make change for someone?’”

#2 Overheard at a library…
“Patron: Can you help me print this YouTube video?”

#3 As if prison isn’t bad enough already…
Have you heard of the true story of an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution assaulting a prison librarian, and pleading not guilty despite video evidence that clearly displays the assault?

Avi Steinberg wrote obituaries for the Boston Globe before working as a prison librarian. If this sub-genre of librarianship intrigues you, his book sounds like worthy reading (Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian).

 #4 This one is hard to understand.
“I worked as the supervisor for a medium-sized library where the director was awful. He had a habit of hiring and firing librarians on a whim, and right before the summer he fired a truly great librarian. Her assistant quit in protest.

The replacement he hired had a rather suspect resume, with two different addresses (one on the cover letter was from one place, the one on her actual resume was from another) and she gave some strange references. I didn’t want to hire her, but he wanted her to be the new librarian. Her prior experience had been in a neighboring urban library and in a Children’s Museum, which had just let her go due to budget cuts.

She put together a Summer Reading program that had little to do with the theme “Be Creative.” No, instead, she focused on food. She wanted to name the program Tasty Treats, and her list of programming included the following:

  1. A visit from Ronald McDonald, complete with free coupons.
    2. Tasty Treat Wednesday – Bring a treat to story hour to share with everyone
    3. Let’s Make Popcorn!
    4. A visit from Chevy’s Mexican restaurant complete with giveaway coupons

You get the idea. Every single thing revolved around food. She assigned the actual reading of the books to the library assistants, because she was barely literate. I am not sure how she graduated from her undergraduate college, let alone Pratt. She spent the summer torturing the library assistants, calling them odd names (She started calling a woman named Maria “Margarine”) and making them do all the work. She sat in her office, ate a lot of candy, and treated everyone in the department like they were garbage. She also made it clear that she really didn’t like children. The reference department put together the summer reading lists from all the schools and had given her the K-6 list so she could place orders for our collection, but she never did. We had very few of the books that the school system required, so most people stopped trying the library and went to Barnes & Noble to buy their summer reading titles instead.

By the end of the summer she’d been fired but brought a wrongful termination suit against the library. The kids had left the program in droves since there was nothing really there for them, and we had to salvage community relations with some big early fall programming.

I’m a former children’s librarian myself, and I just can’t imagine why this woman ever wanted to work with children. I miss the person she replaced and wish she’d been treated better. She was amazing.” -Ingrid, the “Magpie Librarian

Aaah, where would we be without librarians? The wide slice of society they serve, and the interesting situations they endure do provide some amusement (after the initial head shake), but it also speaks loudly to the invaluable role they play in society.

For Lending: Cute and Cuddly Critters

Posted on January 12, 2018 in General  |  0 Comments

Checking out animals at the library seems like a thing made for kids. Cool kids, that is. Ivy league schools like Harvard and Yale are doing it, so there must be something to it, right? Right! Studies have shown that owning a pet helps with stress management, increases your physical exercise, alleviates depression, and lowers risk of heart attacks. Universities and libraries across the nation are offering up animal rental services for these very reasons.

Emotional Support Animals (not quite the same as service animals) are companion animals that a medical professional has determined provides benefit for an individual with a disability, be it psychiatric or intellectual. Emotional Support Animals help with emotional disabilities much like Service Animals help those with physical disabilities.

It might seem ironic that most libraries have “No Animals Allowed,” but next time you’re in your favorite library, ask if they can send you home with a rental pet. Harvard Library has cataloged a dog named Cooper, an adorable little Shih Tzu. According to his library entry, he came to Harvard in 2007, weighs 15 pounds, and has a mix of dark brown, ash, and white hair. “He neither barks nor bites. He enjoys fetching his squeaky toys and stuffed animals, as well as a good game of tug. Should you have a good cry or even feign a whimper near Coop, you are guaranteed to get lots of kisses… With his remaining free time, he loves long walks, car rides, cuddling on the sofa and playing with his best friend, Sass-the-cat.” Just reading about him warms the heart, so one can only imagine the joy he brings to those who get to play with him.

The Sulfur Creek Nature Center in Hayward, CA, has an animal lending library where you can rent one animal for a week. Patrons may choose from guinea pigs, rats, mice, and hamsters. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach children the duties and joys of owning a pet, and the good news is that if it isn’t something they end up being interested in, there’s no additional commitment. Just return the animal and call it a learning experience.

To take a different turn on this theme, suppose you need a dead animal. It could be for a costume situation, an educational presentation, or plain old curiosity. If you live in Anchorage, AK, you’re in luck. At the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS), you can check out pelts, moose horns, skeletons and fully preserved animals for up to two weeks at a time.

All morbidity aside, how could a room full of puppies not be a good idea? We are glad to see that libraries have decided to get on board with animal lending.

Estimates for STM Material

Posted on January 10, 2018 in Documents Delivered, General  |  0 Comments

If you haven’t heard about our fantastic reputation for obtaining copyright-compliant scholarly articles from the scientific, technical, and medical sector of public knowledge, well now you know. It’s our business, and we are experts at what we do.

If you’re new to our service, let us give you a preview by offering a free estimate. We can do an estimate first, calculating availability, copyright fees, and any additional charges (extra pages, third party vendor fees, etc). Simply specify you’d like an estimate when you submit your citations.

What’s the best way to request an estimate? You have a few options:

  • Send an email directly to This is our preferred and your easiest method.
  • Use our online order form and specify in the Special Instructions that you’d like an estimate first.
  • Give us a call at 1-855-809-1227.

If you do decide to pursue the order after receiving your estimate, and we are unable to provide an article due to unforeseen details—it is an estimate, after all—we do not bill you. I repeat, we do not bill for those items we are unable to obtain (except in rare cases in which you will be fully aware of this).

Get in touch and we’ll go from there.

Please note: larger estimates (100+ citations) will be provided with a rough estimate using average copyright fees and general availability.

A New Kind of Quick Book

Posted on January 8, 2018 in General  |  0 Comments

When was the last time that you visited your local library or neighborhood bookstore? It can be difficult, as many libraries’ hours of operation have been shortened or they change so much it’s hard to keep track. Some folks simply don’t have a library or bookstore in their neighborhood, and for others, maybe their library or downtown shopping area has been destroyed by a fire or natural disaster. These are just a few of the reasons that books and the joy of reading can end up taking a back seat to other, more accessible pastimes. So, why not apply a new model to getting your hands on what could be your new favorite book? Something that has worked for, say, cheap snacks like chips, candy bars, and that salty mix with those little rye toasts?

Behold, the book vending machine! Born out of a need for book-buying that is both convenient and immediately gratifying, vending machines offering a selection of current best-sellers in a variety of genres have been popping up in the most interesting places. Most recently, Jet Blue sponsored a book vending machine in Houston after forty-two branches of the Houston Public Library closed due to Hurricane Harvey. Though the machine will be gone in 2018, 25,000 brand-new books will have been given away by then, all donated by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

This innovative idea isn’t a strictly American one. BooksActually, an independent bookstore in Singapore, put up a handful of book vending machines last year with the help of a government grant. The machines are adorned in eye-catching artwork and placed in popular areas with heavy foot-traffic, each containing up to 150 books spanning up to 22 different titles for purchase. The bookstore hopes to expand the program, with future machines set up in train stations to provide convenient access to the most people, as Singapore has few retail bookstores.

This book vending machine idea actually goes back to 1937, with the invention of something called the “Penguincubator.” Allen Lane, the found of Penguin Books, developed a book dispensing machine that sold classic literature paperbacks for about the price of a pack of cigarettes. His vision was a world that offered affordable, quality contemporary fiction in railway stations, tobacco shops, and chain retail stores, all dispensed out of his fancy machines for just a handful of change and the push of a button. Lane hoped to rock the book industry boat by challenging traditional retail methods that kept books a luxury item through fancy storefronts and high pricing. Legend has it that only one of these Penguincubators was actually built and put into use, but the seed had been planted, nonetheless, and a few more versions came along afterward like the Book-O-Mat, the Biblio-Mat, and the Readomatic, but none ever really caught on.

Enthusiasts of the book vending machine have yet to be deterred, and new machines are still being rolled out all over the world, each with its own set of quirks. One, for example, at a train station in Orange County, California, works like a “Redbox for books” and rents out titles to library patrons for free. Transportation hubs in Germany, Spain, Japan, and London have installed their own versions as well, with mixed results. Some machines have gone out of business while others are still hanging on, slowly gaining the interest of daily commuters and travelers. As new models are built and book vending machine programs are refined, maybe someday we will see this unsteady trend become as common as a soda machine or Redbox. Keep your eyes peeled, and cash in your pocket, for a chance to support this micro-bookstore of the future!

Books Not Bells–a quick history of the Franklin Public Library

Posted on January 4, 2018 in General  |  0 Comments

Talk about a library with a history, a history that spans back to the earliest recorded days of America’s formative years. The Franklin Public Library is widely considered to be America’s first public library. In 1778, the famous Benjamin Franklin received perhaps one of the greatest honors in existence: the town of Exeter changed its name to “Franklin” when it incorporated. To show his thanks, he did not donate a new bell for the town’s church steeple, as requested by townsfolk; instead, he chose to donate a collection of books for the people. Two years later, this collection became a public library. A few years later it found its permanent home in the Ray Memorial Building. Restorative efforts have been undertaken through the years to maintain the building, a beautiful boxy classical Greek structure. The original collection donated by Franklin is kept separate in a special case in the library’s Reading Gallery. You can take a video tour from your chair right now.

In honor of the library’s recent bicentennial (1990), the Franklin Public Library Bicentennial Commission published a short history of the library, “A History of America’s First Public Library at Franklin Massachusetts, 1790 – 1990,” which you can read here.

Today, the library remains a community pillar to the roughly 32,000 citizens residing in the town. Open hours are generous and include weekends. Plenty of diverse activities are offered, including “Monday crafternoons,” a baby wearing dance party, pancakes & pajama party, and even a Lego robotics club. Need to borrow some wi-fi? The library has two hotspots available for circulation! There’s a telescope available for weeklong checkouts, too, courtesy of the local astronomy club. The library has a newsletter available on the website as well, so be sure to check it out.

Franklin public library is an excellent example of the library spirit, and an enduring reminder of the pioneering American spirit. Just be sure you turn in your materials on time—they’ll freeze your account once you reach $10.00 in late fees.

Feeling the Fails

Posted on January 2, 2018 in General  |  0 Comments

Have you ever been reading along in a new book, getting really into it, and then you come across a typo? Sometimes it can really shake a reader and feel like a jolt and an interruption to the reading experience. If there are many typos, it can leave a reader wondering if they were actually placed there on purpose. If unintentional typos persist, they can impact your experience of the book. Well, even published authors are human, and humans definitely make mistakes. See if you can decipher the mistakes in these excerpts below. You might even have a list of your own of misspellings you’ve encountered—if so, we’d absolutely love to hear them.

The Queen’s Governess by Karen Harper
“In the weak light of dawn, I tugged on the gown and sleeves I’d discarded like a wonton last night to fall into John’s arms.”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
In the very first edition of the very first Harry Potter book, the list of school supplies for Hogwarts lists “1 wand” twice.

Pasta Bible by Lee Blaylock
This cookbook suggested seasoning with “salt and freshly ground black people.”

Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
The character Imogen is a “pretty awesome, cross dressing lady” whose name was actually Innogen. Two n’s next to each other look just like an m, and so the name has been recorded as such.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
The first, second, and third printings of this book contained the erroneous descriptive sentence, “It stretched out long and grey and very high, and against the base the small mat sheds clung like flees to a dog’s back.”

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
“He listend to me incomplete bewilderment”
“Even after he has slept with one of these mythical cratures he will still refer to her as a virgin, and almost never by name.”
Apparently the novel contained quite a few typographical errors and prompted a slew of obscenity lawsuits.

A Dance With Dragons by George R..R Martin
Queen Cersei descends a staircase and muses: “’I am beautiful,’ she reminded himself.”

Plague Ship by Clive Cussler
“He goosed the throttle and worked the wheel, using the four-wheeler’s power rather than moist his strength to right the six-hundred-pound vehicle.”

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
“I ate breakfast cheerily, watching the dust moats stirring in the sunlight that streamed in the back window.”

The Fiction by H.P. Lovecraft
“…our vessel was made a legitimate prize, whilst we of her crew were treated with all the fairness and consideration due us as navel prisoners.”

A typo from a dictionary carries a lot more weight and potential repercussions than a novel. The 1934 version of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (2nd ed) meant to define “D or d” as an abbreviation of “density,” but it was read as “dord,” an entirely new word. The error was not corrected until around 1940.

And last but certainly not least, a typo from the Bible.
From a 1631 edition, known as the Wicked Bible, the word “not” was left out of the 10 Commandments, so that men “shall commit adultery.”

What about “typos” in illustration? The cover art of Castles in the Air by Christina Dodd includes a woman with three arms. How could that have happened, you ask? Find out here. And if you enjoy the typos, read more here.

So what have we learned? Be sure to thank your copy editor, use spell check, and use your family and friends’ eyes, or you might end up on this list one day. If you’re one of the lucky ones, it might actually work in your favor.

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