Art, Design, Architecture & Media Information Gateway

The Art, Design, Architecture & Media Information Gateway (ADAM), is being developed to provide a gateway to information about fine art, design, architecture, applied arts, media, theory, museum studies and conservation and professional practice related to any of the above. ADAM helps you find the relevant information by providing a searchable on-line catalogue describing Internet resources such as web sites or electronic mailing lists, in much the same way as a library catalogue describes bibliographic resources such as books and journals. It is one of the eLib Access to Network Resources (ANR) projects and received its funding from JISC. A user survey to measure information needs and search methods, annual reports, and service usage statistics are published at the site.

ADAM http://www.adam.ac.uk/adam/


The Book Tube

To some, the very phrase "Book TV" might seem to be anathema, potentially even heretical or at the very least distasteful. Regardless, the past few decades have witnessed a d?tente between these two seemingly contradictory, and potentially even combative, forms of mass media, and C-SPAN 2 has done a fine job of bringing noted authors to this program to talk about their recent printed endeavors. On the site, visitors can peruse some of their programmatic sections, including "After Words", "History", "In Depth", and "Public Lives". Within each section, visitors can view current and archived interviews with individuals like Christopher Hitchens, Francis Fukuyama, Shelby Steele, and Camille Paglia. For those long-time CSPAN viewers, there is also a section dedicated to "Encore Booknotes", which serves as the current incarnation of the program "Booknotes", which went off the air in 2004. While all of this would certainly be enough for any site, the other features include areas dedicated to the traveling Book TV Bus (which visits book festivals and such events around the country) and a place for visitors to submit questions to authors who will be appearing on the program in the future.

Book TV http://www.booktv.org


Trolling the Dark Side of the Net

A SiteAdvisor investigation, which studied the 5 major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Ask) between January and concluded in April, found that even common search terms can lead users to risky sites.
Among the study's top-line findings:
- All of the major search engines returned risky sites in their search results for popular keywords.
- Dangerous sites soared to as much as 72% of results for certain popular keywords, such as "free screensavers," "digital music," "popular software," and "singers."

Search engines clearly play a critical role in Internet use: As a convenient starting point for online browsing, they're estimated to account for about half of all site visits. But economically motivated purveyors of spam, adware and other online problems quickly follow where consumers go online, in this case directly to search engine results. Among the study's conclusions is the fact that some proportion of dangerous Web sites are included in the major search engine's results. The study also finds that a broad range of key words delivers risky results, including words, phrases and categories used by younger users, such as "games," "singers" and "movies." The study also finds that "sponsored" results - those paid for by advertisers - are more dangerous than non-sponsored results. On average, 8.5% of sponsored links were found to be dangerous versus 3.1% of non-sponsored links.

SiteAdvisor is a consumer software company founded in April 2005 by a group of MIT engineers who wanted to make the Web safer for their family and friends. Having spent one too many holiday breaks trying to clean a mess of spam, adware, and spyware from their families' computers, they decided to take action. They realized there was a gaping hole in existing Web security products. While traditional security companies had gotten relatively good at addressing technical threats like viruses, they were failing to prevent a new breed of "social engineering" tricks like spyware infections, identity theft scams, and sites which send excessive email. To address this challenge, they built a system of automated testers which continually patrol the Web to browse sites, download files, and enter information on sign-up forms. They document all these results and supplement them with feedback from users, comments from Web site owners, and analysis from their own employees. Their goal is to pioneer a new approach to Web safety and make the Internet safer for everyone.

SiteAdvisor http://www.siteadvisor.com

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

US Book Production Falls, UK Rises, in 2005

Bowker, a bibliographic information agency, released a report that shows book publishing in the U.S. decreased 18 percent in 2005 to 172,000 new titles and editions - marking the country’s first decline since 1999. The statistics, based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, were compiled from Bowker’s Books In Print database, a comprehensive listing of more than 6 million U.S. book, audiobook and video titles. The U.S.’s decrease allowed for Great Britain to assume the top spot as the world’s leader in English-language publishing, with the U.K.’s 206,000 new books in 2005 representing a 28-percent increase. The U.S.’s decline was only its 10th in the last 50 years.

Small to mid-sized publishers saw the sharpest plummets, with output from the smallest publishers falling by more than 7 percent. Small-to-medium publishers declined by 10 percent, and medium-to-large publishers produced 15 percent fewer titles than in 2004. “In 2005, publishers were more cautious and disciplined when it came to their lists,” said Gary Aiello, Bowker’s chief operating officer. “We see that trend continuing in 2006. The price of paper has already gone up twice this year, and publishers, especially the small ones, will have to think very carefully about what to publish.” Both general adult fiction and children’s books saw double-digit declines, but sports and recreation led all categories with a 22-percent increase in new titles. “The sudden and steep drop in the number of new books published in the U.S. last year was surprising,” said Andrew Grabois, a Bowker consultant. “Yet 2005’s book output was the second highest total of new books ever recorded, after 2004’s record year.”

Bowker Bookwire http://www.bookwire.com

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Reckless Art of Book Blurbing

They're short, wildly exaggerated and ubiquitous. There's no empirical evidence that book blurbs help sell books, but few publishers would print a book without one. While blurbs are intended to pique a reader's interest, their increasingly absurd language is an affront to good writing. The blurb is a longstanding practice in publishing — nowadays, it’s jarring to find a book that isn’t garnished with adoring verbiage. While there’s no empirical proof that blurbs help sell books, no publisher would dare print a book without one. The word “blurb” dates back to the early 20th century. When writer/illustrator Gelett Burgess published his comic treatise Are You a Bromide? in 1906, it was common practice for book jackets to include an image of a damsel (distressed or otherwise). Burgess was evidently something of a card. At a trade association dinner the following year, he and his publisher cooked up a new cover that depicted a woman named “Belinda Blurb” delivering a hilariously over-the-top testimonial. The stunt was meant to satirize the art of book promotion; ironically, it may have put it into overdrive.

Blurbs for a book’s first printing are usually submitted by other authors; for subsequent editions (like the paperback version), these quotes are typically supplemented with excerpts from reviews in newspapers and magazines. Along with high-profile reviews (preferably positive) and book tours, blurbs are part and parcel of marketing any title. Craig Pyette, associate editor at Random House of Canada, says the importance of a blurb lies not so much in the praise as in the person giving it. “It’s lovely to have nice words about your book on your book’s cover, but the real value is the comparison value.”

CBC Arts http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/blurbs.html

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Lesson in Time

Back in the middle of the 18th century, what was a young parent to do when it came to providing a meaningful and lasting education for their son or daughter? It would be a few decades before Rousseauís Emilie, and a bit longer for John Dewey to make the scene, so parents had to be a bit more creative. One particularly enterprising soul was Jane Johnson, who decided to create a set of materials designed to instruct her son, George William Johnson, in a variety of subjects. Several hundred years later, the good folks at Indiana Universityís Lilly Library decided to digitize these rather remarkable teaching aids so that the web-browsing public might be able to look through them at their leisure. All told, there are 438 separate pieces, including six sets of alphabet cards (complete with vowel sounds), two booklets, three sets of lesson cards in verse and anecdotal form, and several card sets of moral instruction. The cards are quite visually appealing, and they contain references to such contemporaries as George Berkeley, and George Wright, a noted Member of Parliament. For those with a penchant for taking a stroll down the memory lane of pedagogy and instruction, this collection is worth several visits.

Jane Johnson Collection http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/lilly/janejohnson/

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Art of the Start

It would seem that more and more people are interested in developing their own business, and a number of websites are dedicated to helping these persons achieve that goal. One valuable website in that realm is StartUpNation. Created by Jeff and Rich Sloan, the site contains a well- designed homepage that includes links to sections dedicated to areas of interest to the prospective entrepreneur, including those that deal with customer service and creating strategic marketing plans. A good place to start is the ìLean from the Experts? area, located on the left-hand side of the homepage. Here, visitors can learn from successful individuals, such as Glenn Coggeshell of Black Dot Coffee. Along the same side, visitors can also read about how to choose a business for themselves and also how to plan to make this business a reality. In keeping with the times, the site also affords users the opportunity to sign up for RSS feeds and the ability to listen (and download) a number of podcasts.

StartUpNation http://www.startupnation.com

Friday, May 05, 2006

Still Life in Big News?

For many newspapers, readership is down and advertising is off. Some major newspapers have laid off staff. American reporters abroad have been killed or held hostage in Iraq, while at home, some have been threatened with jail for refusing to disclose their sources. A few journalists have demeaned the principles of their profession by plagiarizing the work of others or totally manufacturing interviews and events. When caught, they have been fired. On top of all this is the fear that a multiplicity of new electronic toys and gadgets is encouraging a new generation to forsake the printed newspaper and gather its information via a keyboard and computer screen, or even a hand-held device prodded with a metal pointer. But while technology may change methods of delivery, as for example online, there is no content to deliver without a news organization to gather and edit it. In its annual report on the news media, the Project for Excellence in Journalism says the "evidence does not support the notion that newspapers have begun a sudden death spiral."

Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0503/p09s01-cojh.html
Project for Excellence in Journalism http://www.journalism.org/

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Relics from the Age of Vinyl

Do the Hustle Frank's Vinyl Museum, the "Internet Home of Weird Records",has an eclectic, esoteric collection of old albums that will satisfy even the most seasoned vinyl veterans. Highlights include "Whipped Cream and Other Delights", "Beatle Barkers" (an album of Beatles' covers being 'barked' by dogs), and
"Cathy Berberian: Revolution."Click on each selection on the site to read a complete write-up on these obscure records. Want to do the Hustle? The graphic above shows how. If you were lucky enough to live in New York or LA during the 70's, you might have had the opportunity to learn from a professional instructor and even visit a real discotheque. For the rest of the country, however, vinyl was the answer. Records like this (and there were dozens of them) brought the Hustle to dime stores and supermarkets everywhere.

Frank's Vinyl Museum http://www.franklarosa.com/vinyl

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Follow the Money

Seth Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change. In Free Prize Inside, his follow up to the best selling marketing book of 2003, Purple Cow, Seth helps you make your product remarkable with soft innovations. You need to make each of your employees idea champions so they can find the Free Prize. Godin is author of six books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change and work. Seth is a renowned speaker as well. He was recently chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next Century by Successful Meetings and is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses. He holds an MBA from Stanford and was called "the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age" by BusinessWeek.

Seth Godin tells BusinessWeek how to go about evaluating a new business idea: "You make a list of all the things that have to work in order for the idea to be successful. That means focusing on the process rather than the product. For instance, distribution: Where is the product sold to the consumer, and are there middlemen? Who's selling it for you? What's the pricing model? Where do you get the raw materials? What's your marketing strategy, and how will it scale? Then you give yourself an honest appraisal of whether it's going to work, recognizing that not one of the people whose help your success depends on cares about your idea unless it helps them make money. I can't tell you how many people I talk to think they have a brilliant idea and can't figure out why other people don't agree." Well, what about business models? Don't you need to invent a business model? Godin says: "Most successful entrepreneurs don't invent a business model. They trade on the success of a proven one. Not only can you be certain that it can be done but also you can learn from others' mistakes. And not all business models work in all industries." His example: "Say you have an idea and you want to license it to a larger company with sales and marketing capabilities. Have people licensed their ideas in that industry before? If the answer is no, then you need a new idea. My chances of licensing a successful board game to a big toy company are very slim. However, the book industry licenses 50,000 new ideas a year."

The Bootstrapper's Bible http://www.changethis.com
Seth Godin in Business Week http://www.businessweek.com

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Comic Books are Free, for a Day

As the name implies, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world are giving away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. It takes place on May 6, 2006. It's not about convenience stores with a spinner rack of comics in a corner somewhere, this event celebrates the independent comic book specialty stores, thousands of which exist in North America alone. Each one is unique in its community, with a style and personality all its own, and each one carries a full line of comics, graphic novels, and related products. Comic books began as a unique American art form that has grown – like so many American forms of entertainment – to spread around the globe. From Japanese businessmen reading manga on the subways of Tokyo to French artists re-interpreting Proust with words and pictures, comics have changed entertainment and challenged perceptions. These days, there are comic books for every taste, from slam-bang super-hero adventures to quiet slice-of-life to thrilling science fiction to intense drama.. They are fun to read, featuring a wide range of diverse storylines that capture the imagination of the readers, and have survived: the dominance of radio, the ubiquity of television, the spread of color and sound motion pictures, the rise of videogames, and the Internet. You can search the site to find a store near you that you can drop by and pick up your free comic.

Free Comic Book Day http://www.FreeComicBookDay.com

Monday, May 01, 2006

Making Contact with Photography

Contact: Toronto Photography Festival is an annual month long festival of photography with over 500 local, national and international artists at more than 175 venues across the Greater Toronto Area in May. Founded as a not-for-profit organization 10 years ago, Contact is devoted to celebrating, and fostering an appreciation of the art and profession of photography. As the largest photography event in North America, and a premiere cultural event in Toronto, Contact stimulates excitement and discussion among a diverse audience that has grown to almost 1,000,000 and is focused on cultivating even greater interest and participation this year. The festival’s success, to a great degree, is a result of the open call for exhibitions and this continues to provide an invaluable opportunity for emerging artists to contribute unexpected and memorable encounters with photography throughout the city, alongside leading professionals. Since 2002, curated programming and highlights of the festival are a central focus of development, including high-profile public installations, feature exhibitions, an international lecture series, a film program in partnership with the National Film Board, portfolio reviews, seminars, workshops and tours. The festival has become a leading proponent of photography, increasing exposure and recognition for local, Canadian and international artists, and advancing knowledge, creativity and innovation in photography. Photography insiders, from gallery owners to collectors to corporate clients, are thinking the unthinkable - big money can be made in photography.With about a million people attending last year, Contact has emerged in a relatively short time as one of the city's two annual city-defining cultural events, along with the Toronto International Film Festival.

Contact: Toronto Photography Festival http://www.contactphoto.com

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Stamp Salutes Publishers 100th Year

Stamp Salutes Publishers 100th Year

McClelland & Stewart Canada Post will issue a single domestic rate stamp (51?) commemorating the 100th anniversary of McClelland & Stewart, the publishing house that has had an influential role in shaping Canadian identity and culture. Established in 1906, the company evolved from a catalogue which featured both agency and indigenous publications to an integrated company that proudly calls itself "The Canadian Publisher." During its 100 years, McClelland & Stewart has published a wide array of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, bringing to Canadians the works of such respected writers and poets as L.M. Montgomery, Bliss Carman, Al Purdy, Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, Earle Birney, Margaret Laurence, Gabrielle Roy, and Margaret Atwood. Today, McClelland & Stewart's celebrated and award-winning fiction writers, such as Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje and Rohinton Mistry, attract loyal readers from around the world.

McClelland & Stewart http://www.100years.ca

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dime Novels in Detail

This Dime Novel Project website grew out Felicia L. Carr's research for a dissertation entitled "All For Love: Gender and Class and the Woman's Dime Novel in Nineteenth-Century America" which examines the genre of women's dime novel writing and its role in changing gender and class formations. While other forms of nineteenth-century women's writing have been the focus of extensive scholarship and have developed a strong presence on the web, it became clear to Carr that dime novels have not received the attention they deserve. This genre, once enormously popular with its readers, has been neglected for most of its history by scholars, collectors, and libraries. It suffers from the double burden of being both popular and written for working-class women. This project hopes to overcome the history of oversight to both the form and its readers by providing information about the novels themselves, the authors, the readers, and nineteenth century public reaction. If you love literature and want to investigate a little known genre, then this is the website for you.

American Women's Dime Novel Project http://chnm.gmu.edu/dimenovels/

Friday, April 28, 2006

Journal of Women in Culture and Society

Founded in 1975, Signs is published by the University of Chicago Press and isrecognized as the leading international journal in women's studies. Signs publishes articles from a wide range of disciplines in a variety of voices?articles engaging gender, race, culture, class, sexuality, and / or nation. The focus of essays ranges from cross-disciplinary theorizing and methodologies to specific disciplinary issues, framed to enter conversations of interest across disciplines. Signs publishes pathbreaking work in interdisciplinary feminist scholarship that challenges the boundaries of knowledge concerning women's and men's lives, gender relations, sexualities, raced and gendered practices, institutions, cultural productions, theoretical concepts and frameworks, understandings of the past and present, as well as possibilities for the future. Over the next five years, the journal will feature:
- Major articles. In-depth analyses addressing issues of critical, empirical, and theoretical importance to discipline-based and interdisciplinary feminist scholarship.
- Comparative perspectives symposia. Analyses of contested concepts by feminist scholars and activists from various regions of the world.
- Retrospectives. Genealogical excavations of the nature, presuppositions, and conditions of intelligibility of feminist scholarship.
- Review essays. Systematic overviews of major approaches and emerging trends in discipline-based and interdisciplinary feminist studies.
Authors are strongly encouraged to submit manuscripts online, via WPR. ISSN: 0097-9740

Signs http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/Signs/journal/
WPR http://mss.uchicago.edu/Signs/.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Books Make or Don't Make Money ... Duh.

Aspiring writers and booklovers, and publishing professionals (however few of us are still left) will be interested in this "industry insider's" explanation of the economics of mass-market book publishing, "how we figure out how much money to pay authors for their advance, and also in which I explain how sometimes books make money and sometimes they don't."The author, Anna Louise, is self-described as "cantankerous, easily annoyed, liberal, vegan, and very picky about everything." She's an editor at Tor Books, one of the bottom-feeders of the book world, who plans to eventually take over the world. Mass market publishing has long been a dangerous and often cynical segment of the book universe, fraught with many of the same challenges of consumer magazine publishing, and this piece should be read in that context. She promices more inside information in future installments. Stay tuned to this space ...

Anna Louise http://alg.livejournal.com/84032.html

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Multidisciplinary Design

There's a buzz these days about something called multidisciplinary design, a concept explained this way by Harry West, vice president of strategy and innovation at Design Continuum: "One thing I think we need to be clear on is that multi-disciplinary design, in and of itself, does not deliver real value. It's a means to an end. And the end that we're looking for is that a team be able to have a really holistic view of the problem so that they equally understand and equally respect the consumer's emotional needs around a product or service offering – as well as the technical or financial constraints around delivering that offering. Innovation often happens not in the center of a discipline but in the spaces in-between the disciplines. So, in order to find those opportunities, you need to have a team that can see all of those different aspects and have equal respect for those different considerations of a problem. What we have found is that we need to have teams that include members who are very left-brained and very right-brained with no hierarchy between the disciplines. What that means is that somebody coming in from the best business school in the U.S. works alongside as an equal with someone coming in from a design school."

Innovate Forum http://www.innovateforum.com/innovate/

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Getting the Words Out

Ducts webzine is an online literary, visual and performing arts publication. It has been online and growing steadily in worldwide readership since it was founded in 1999. Ducts gives contributors - beginning artists, in particular - a place to express their most personal stories regardless of social, economic, race, gender or age differences. Ducts also sponsors a monthly reading series, Trumpet Fiction, in well-known venues in New York City. The series showcases many of the artists featured in the webzine. In addition, Ducts.org works closely with the New York Writers Workshop. Unlike larger corporate publishers, Ducts fosters a cooperative and supportive environment and doesn't have to answer to the demands imposed by corporations. Thus, they are not restricted by industry quotas and limitations. Writers from ducts.org have had their work picked up by major U.S. magazines. Others have gone on to have novels and other books published. Jonathan Kravetz is the founder and Editor. He also founded the monthly reading series, Trumpet Fiction at KGB Bar in Manhattan. He also studies comedy improv with members of the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Ducts http://www.ducts.org

Monday, April 24, 2006

Does Old Media Love the New Too Much?

Media companies have to go where the customers are. There's no question that the Internet is increasingly where many consumers are spending the greatest amount of time. But their time there is spent doing many of the tasks of daily life and work, not just 'consuming media.' I'm convinced most people will continue to enjoy reading books, magazines and newspapers, assuming what they find there is relevant to them. In the end, media companies need to do what they've always done - produce good content. If they don't stick their heads in the sand as many did in the earlier years of the Internet, perhaps they will learn that as wonderful as the Internet really is, it will neither kill nor replace anything they do. They just have to continue to do it well. So says David Kirkpatrick, senior editor at Fortune in Fast Forward.

FortuneFast Forward http://money.cnn.com

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Canadian Superheroes

The Guardians of the North: The National Superhero in Canadian Comic-Book Art website is based on an archival exhibition of the same title that was originally mounted at the National Archives' Canadian Museum of Caricature in 1992. Curated by Canadian comics scholar and archivist John Bell, the original exhibition drew upon the holdings of the National Archives of Canada, the National Library of Canada and various private collections in order to explore the history of Canada's national superheroes – costumed comic book heroes that personify the Canadian spirit and identity. The first exhibition devoted to a particular theme within the history of Canadian Comic-Book Art, Guardians of the North generated a significant amount of interest in the history of Canadian comics and prompted Canada Post to release a special stamp issue, in 1995, that commemorated Superman and four national superheroes: Nelvana of the Northern Lights, Johnny Canuck, Captain Canuck and Fleur de Lys. Exhibition curator John Bell provided the text for the booklet that accompanied the stamp issue.

The Guardians of the North site, which is also curated and written by Bell, offers a revised version of the original exhibition narrative and features digital images of the items that were displayed at the Museum of Caricature. As well, the site incorporates an updated version of Bell's out-of-print book Guardians of the North: The National Superhero in Canadian Comic-Book Art, which was published by the National Archives in 1992.In addition, the digital version of Guardians of the North is enhanced by the incorporation of new material prepared by Bell, including detailed profiles of Canada's main national superheroes and brief biographies of their creators. Like the original Guardians of the North exhibition, this site is intended for the general public; however, the nature of the comic book medium is such that certain images may be offensive to some or not suitable for young children.

The Guardians of the North http://www.collectionscanada.ca/superheroes

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's the Local in Local Paper, Stupid

Tim Porterin Nieman Reports says that newspapers are in big trouble, the biggest since television began eroding their audience 60 years ago. There is no need for an umpteenth recitation of the demographic, economic and technological trifecta that has endangered newspapering as a vehicle for journalism - which, of course, is why we care about the fate of newspapers: They pay the freight for the type of journalism considered a necessity in a democratic society. There is, however, a need to repeat an unpleasant truth most newspaper journalists, particularly newsroom managers, don't like to hear: They are as responsible for the decline in readership and relevance of newspapers as any of the other bugaboos cited routinely as contributing causes - the Internet, pesky bloggers, disinterested youth and that Craig guy from San Francisco. Why is that? Because risk-averse newsrooms have spent several decades with their collective heads in the ink barrel, ignoring the changing society around them, refusing to embrace new technologies and defensively adhering to both a rigid internal hierarchy and an inflexible definition of "news" that produces a stenographic form of journalism, one that has stood still, frozen by homage to tradition, while the world has moved on.

Newspapers now have the chance - albeit forced upon them - to discard decades of rote practices and processes. They have the chance to build new forms of journalism that operate on traditional principles of fairness, stewardship and vigilance but are not bound by tired definitions of what is "news," how it should be presented and who should be given the tools to do so. Reinvent or die. It's that simple. And the death will be slow and painful, a continuing slide into mediocrity and irrelevance, as tighter budgets reduce staff and the public opts for newer, more compelling sources of information. Reinvention must begin at the core, the nucleus, the thing all the newspapers must excel at: coverage of local news. Local is the franchise for newspapers. Local reporting, local photography, local commentary, local information, local interaction with the community. Yahoo and Google spew out routine national and international news by the screen full. The bleat of the blogosphere and the wail of cable TV heads provide the nation with punditry in spades. Myspace, Flickr and other social network sites built the virtual communities the Internet promised in its nascency. The one-time mass media has been thin-sliced and cross-diced into me-media, an RSS feed for every person, an opinion expressed for every viewpoint offered, everyone a publisher. All that's left is the journalism. Local journalism. That is the niche, the slice, newspapers can and must own.

Tim Porter http://www.timporter.com
Nieman Reports http://www.nieman.harvard.edu

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Reader Empowerment and the Web

User scripting heralds a paradigm shift towards web reader empowerment. Powerful web writers of the first decade of the Web needed to be cautioned about usability and accessibility issues. As power shifts to web readers, they become capable of customizing web pages to their own tastes and purposes. This paper by Terrence A. Brooks of the University of Washington Information School, describes the development of Greasemonkey extension of the Firefox browser. User scripting is a product of the development of the open source browser, and individual developers who wish to change webpages. The Greasemonkey extension of the Firefox browser permits web readers to write JavaScripts that (1) Change the look and feel of Web pages, (2) Change the functionality of web page controls, and (3) Facilitates Web page "mashups", hybrid web presentations composed of content from two or more web pages. The only naturally occurring limit to web page modification may be difficult Web page source code. Tools that shield Web readers from the complexity of HTML are being introduced. The paradigm shift to Web readers, armed with powerful and easy-to-use tools for customizing Web pages heralds a new era of the Web. It threatens the idea that a Web page has a single look and feel, and emphasizes the trend to design Web pages as mere input to the reading experience, subject to modification of presentation device as well as reader taste and purpose..

No Bad Web Pages http://informationr.net/ir/11-3

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Is Local Search Killing the Yellow Pages?

When's the last time you went into Yahoo Local to see what people are saying about your company? asks LocalLaunch. The shift from the directory model to the search model online, is growing when it comes to finding local businesses. Internet yellow pages may well be nearing death, in their current form at least. What these things are becoming is local search utilities. In that shift, entrepreneurs need to know just what is being said about them online. That's why those business owners should visit Yahoo and other sites that track opinions.

TrueLocal notes how people look for certain terms, like product names or brand names, or even slang and industry-related words. People don't look for accountants or tax preparation, they look for 1040. Regional phrases, like pop versus soda, should be part of the consideration when building a campaign. Knowing one's target audience, especially how they speak, is important, including the importance of tracking conversions.

There are a number of open source options for auto-generating coupons and creating unique graphics that can be tracked- for which Zixxo might be an option. If you are an advertiser you can try this out for free - Zixxo is not charging anything to advertisers for all of 2006. They have fairly robust tools for creating a coupon on the site, or advertisers can upload an existing offer. Coupons can be targeted locally or nationally, and there are other great features like “pause” to allow an advertiser to pull a coupon during busy periods. The eventual revenue model is to charge $0.50 per coupon printed (or click to an online offer) once they begin charging. Users can find coupons via search or browse on the site, or receive email or RSS alerts for the location and/or coupon categories of their choice. In the long run, Zixxo should gather incredibly valuable information on consumer demand. Zixxo can then go to local or national retailers and offer to sell into this demand. For example, if Zixxo has ten thousand bay area users who are looking for deals on flowers, Zixxo can take this information to 1800Flowers and offer to sell a coupon into this demand stream. It’s “pull” advertising at its best. Zixxo will launch open APIs to access coupon information, and they will offer a revenue share to partners once they begin charging. Zixxo has raised an angel round and has six employees.

"Look for local specialty/industry groups, who will throw up a banner or a link - whatever. Too many people are wasting too much money on PPC programs for their offline businesses by not making smart decisions about terms and locality. Spending the money you have to spend on a PPC program for generic terms is the result of business owners' poor understanding of how Google and other search engines work in relation to localized businesses.

Google provides a couple of ways small businesses can quickly get their content into the leading search platform. By using Google Local, business owners can create and display a listing for free, and update it whenever they wish. Entrepreneurs who have a lot of listings to contribute should try Google Base and its bulk uploading procedure instead. Google plans to release more detailed error messages about bulk uploads, and increase the number of messages displayed as well.

LocalLaunch http://www.locallaunch.com
TrueLocal http://www.truelocal.com
Zixxo http://www.zixxo.com
Google Local http://google.com/local/add
Google Base http://google.com/uploadlistings

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Interesting, Damn Interesting

Created by a group of writers, this cool site lives up to its name by providing a daily dose of interesting facts and ideas to the Internet public.A wonderful website to bookmark, there is always something fascinating to read that will no doubt have you saying to yourself, "Wow, that is Damn Interesting!!" For example, there's America's Secret Plan to Invade Canada: "At a length of 5,522 miles (8,891 kilometers), Canada and the United States share the longest non-militarized border in the world. Today we think of the two nations as the friendliest of neighbors, but at one time both nations had somewhat detailed plans for attacking one another… just in case. The U.S. plan was titled "Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan – Red," and it included plans for the invasion of Canada by the United States as part of a larger worldwide military action. War Plan Red was actually designed for a war against England and it’s Commonwealth. The scenario imagined a conflict between England (code name Red) and the United States (Blue) fighting over vital international trade and commercial interests." And that's only the beginning. Scroll the various sections of the site, which include interesting facts from the subjects of "History", "Space Exploration", "Gray Matter", "The World of Tomorrow", "Medical Science", "Wonders of Nature" and much more.Don't skip the entry in the History section about North Korea's "secret hotel".

Damn Interesting http://www.damninteresting.com
War Plan http://www.glasnost.de/hist/usa/1935invasion.html

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Directory of Catalogs

The number of online catalogs jumped from 7,440 to 8,903 according to the 2006 edition of The National Directory of Catalogs, and make up 78% of the 11,438 catalog listings. While online catalogs are on the rise, marketers continue to find print catalogs a powerful tool for driving customers to their websites; and some catalogs that began online have added print versions. In addition, there is a rise in 'magalogs,' or catalogs that contain editorial content, such as 'Outdoor Republic' and 'Pulse.'" Of the 225 subject categories in the 2006 edition of the Books & Book Trade category has the most listings with 1008 catalogs in 2006. In addition to "Books," other popular catalog categories in 2006 include: Apparel & Accessories (750), Automotive (542), Education (513), Gardening & Horticulture (434), and Gifts & Greeting Cards (307).

Over the past ten years (1996-2006), the three categories showing the strongest growth are Automotive from 270 to 542, Education from 334 to 513, and Apparel & Accessories from 677 to 750 catalogs. In the same time period, the Computers & Automation category has decreased from 561 to 240. The Directory is the largest directory of U.S. and Canadian catalogs with listings for 11,438 business and consumer catalogs. Catalog listings include address, phone, fax, URL (10,678 in this edition), and email (7,529 listed); names of owner, president and production manager; number and frequency of mailings; product line; print specifications, including trim size, page count, type of paper, binding, and color; name and address of printing company; list rental information and name and address of list management company. It is priced at $795 for the print edition; $1,095 for the Single-User CD and $1,695 for both print directory and CD. It is also available online as part of the MediaFinder online database service. Oxbridge Communications has the largest database of U.S. and Canadian periodicals and catalogs. In addition to "The National Directory of Catalogs," Oxbridge has a broad range of reference products including: "The Standard Periodical Directory," "Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters," "The National Directory of Magazines" and an online database of more than 70,000 publications, including catalogs.

Oxbridge MediaFinder http://mediafinder.com

Friday, April 14, 2006

Custom Publishing on the Rise

Corporations produce more than 116,000 unique custom publications annually and spends $30 billion each year doing so. Custom publishing, as an industry, is similar in size to these media sectors: consumer magazine publishing, radio and network television. The size of the industry often surprises people. Unlike consumer magazines, radio and television, which are broadcast and available for all to read, see and hear, most custom publications are never seen by the average consumer. That's because custom publications, almost by definition, are highly targeted vehicles aimed at narrow audiences, such as a company's customer base, and other select groups. In fact, the average custom publication has a circulation of 18,587 copies. The growth of the custom publishing sector has outpaced that of other marketing tactics with regularity. Last year 13.2% of the average corporate marketing budget was spent on custom publishing, up from 11.1% the prior year. Forty percent of companies plan to spend more on custom publishing next year. The custom publishing industry is thriving, according to a new study from the Custom Publishing Council, a professional organization for custom publishers in North America. The study was done in conjunction with Publications Management, a newsletter that tracks the custom publishing industry. Custom publishing spending hit an all-time high of $45.8 billion in 2005, which continues a six-year growth run. Spending on custom publishing has more than doubled since 2000.It is also more competitive than ever. Marketers have become more enthusiastic about this unique combination of the best of print editorial and best of marketing communications. Little wonder then, that this is the golden age of custom communications. Consider that there are more copies of custom magazines distributed than ever - an estimated 34 billion, according to the CPC - and that growth in custom is far outpacing growth in advertising overall. And consider that innovative new partnerships are being formed and membership in the CPC has soared, from 25 companies in 2002 to 87 today. Increasingly, marketers are looking to custom to demonstrate ROI, and custom publishers are stepping up.

Folio Magazine http://www.foliomag.com
Custom Publishing Council http://www.custompublishingcouncil.com/
Publications Management http://www.mcmurry.com

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Heart of American Journalism

Published under the careful hand of staff members at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, the American Journalism Review comes out six times a year. The print magazine is available here for the general public in an electronic format, and contains articles ranging from the changing media landscape in the United States and to discussions about whether newsrooms should use the names of illegal immigrants in their reporting on various events. If visitors so desire, they may also browse the archives of this publication all the way back to 1991. Those in the field of journalism (or those who are just curious about the field) should browse on over to the "Resources" area. Here they can learn about journalism fellowships and look over a list of helpful "Reportersí Tools", which are essentially links to like-minded sites. For those looking for a break from the normal supply of stoic headlines, there is the "Take 2" area of the site. With just a click of the mouse, users can read a number of funny errors and clever headlines culled straight from the wide world of the American media.

American Journalism Review http://www.ajr.org/

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Care of Books

We all love books but very few of us know the proper way to take care of them. The Tippecanoe County Library in Indiana has compiled a list of links to web resources about the care of books.There are links to dozens of websites and among the many topics are storage; repairs; how to properly shelve; dealing with water or insect damage; a glossary of book terms; and more.The links to these websites will prove invaluable to anyone who cares about books.

Tippecanoe County Library http://www.tcpl.lib.in.us/tech/bookcare.htm

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Eat, Sleep, and Breathe Publicity

Publicity is one of the most overlooked marketing tools. With a little information and training, it can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for any company, large or small. Guerrilla Publicity builds on the potential and wisdom of the best-selling Guerrilla Marketing Series with simple to use and easy to understand tips, tactics and resources to increase the effectiveness and profit potential of your business. The Guerrilla Publicity website is an extension of the print edition of Guerrilla Publicity. In this site you'll find additional information and resources to help your business stand out, excel, and be noticed. The concept of Guerrilla Marketing is maximum return for minimum investment. Guerrilla Business operators leverage knowledge and skills to cost effectively build their businesses. When Guerrilla Marketing was first published in 1983, its edgy approach helped it shoot to the top of bestseller lists. The book was a breakthrough for small businesses and has since yielded several classics bearing the immediately recognizable, Guerrilla name.

Publicity never sleeps it's an ongoing 24/7 process that never stops.Since you're the product, you're also your own best marketing tool.Publicity accompanies you everywhere.Even when you hire marketing or promotion professionals, you're still responsible for your own publicity. Self-promotion is essential; you must become your own PR firm.You can't be shy or embarrassed, or rely on others to champion your cause.Look at the successful people you know.They quickly let everyone know who they are, what they do, and how important it is.Follow their lead. Learn to spot promotional opportunities and how to capitalize on them. When you meet people, take the opportunity to sell yourself. Carry your product, brochures and business cards with you - everywhere.(If your product is too big to lug around, carry pictures that you can show easily.) Become a walking advertisement.Put your logo and company name on anything that people might see. Self-promotion conveys enthusiasm. It inspires, excites and makes people want to help you out.?So give them the chance!

Guerrilla Publicity http://www.guerrillapublicity.com

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Unbundling is Redefining Media Content

Media content is increasingly becoming "unbundled" from its physical distribution medium, such as CDs. This "disruptive" technology has led to different pricing models and lowered barriers to entry for content authors, creating a challenging business environment for publishers and media companies. Historically, information and entertainment content were captive to their physical distribution medium or distribution time. Given the technology of the past, consumers were forced to purchase and access content using the physical medium or schedule dictated by the content distributor. This resulted in "appointment-based" consumption.

Today, this old model of consumption is vanishing, due to changes in three significant areas:
1. Unit pricing: Content and services have increasingly shifted to a "unit pricing" system through a "free" advertising-based content delivery model;a value-added or "premium" subscription business model; pricing on a per unit basis; and pricing for access to specific content on a monthly or yearly basis.
2. On-demand access: Consumers can access or view content on-demand, rather than according to a schedule dictated by the distributor. For example:automatic recording of television broadcasts through TiVo; Comcast's"on-demand" cable service; 24-hour access to newspaper and magazine content online;digital recording of satellite radio; and podcasting.
3. Digital delivery: All types of content can be delivered digitally over the Internet, or via cable systems or satellite radio, for viewing or local storage on a user's server or client device. Infrastructure for digital content delivery is superseding traditional models for delivery, viewing, recording and playback of content using physical media and temporally sequenced broadcast services.

Businesses, particularly traditional media companies and publishers, face several key challenges in the face of this technological change:
1. New revenue models: The need to transition from a product license-based to a services- or subscription-based revenue model.
2. New delivery methods: Companies are facing the transition from passive content-delivery models, in which the audience is captive to the viewing and "one size fits all" advertising, to active and highly customized "affinity-based" advertising.
3. Commoditization of content: Content increasingly is becoming a commodity, as it is either provided for free or priced at a very low cost, with revenue derived from: value added services; affinity-based advertising; ordevelopment of brand equity and the sale of related products and services. Successful Web sites often provide free content in an effort to provide value, which in turn supports increased user and customer adoption.
4. Web search evolution: Web searching is evolving as a replacement for manual Web browsing as the primary vehicle for finding information and resources.
5. Content 'filters:' Human "filters," or subject matter experts, are becoming increasingly important. They help shorten the "search cycle," impose quality control on the vast amount of information and resources available online, and help determine "winners" in various product categories.
6. Advice 'ecosystems:' Web services such as eBay provide users with information on pricing, demand, availability and the features of products for sale. This is provided through self-publishing by members in their product listings and in related Web sites. While there is no outside human editor or reviewer for eBay content and listings, the eBay 'ecosystem' acts as a de facto filter and subject matter expert for its users.

The unbundling of content and services across all media types and forms of technology has disrupted traditional content supply chains by increasing the power of content authors and producers, and content consumers, at the expense of the intermediaries who own and manage the traditional content distribution and supply chain. Since distributors of content have less power, they must compensate by offering more content for free - or at a low, unbundled cost. This has forced content distributors to seek additional sources of revenue to make up for their lost traditional distribution fees.

The proliferation of unbundled content business models has benefited consumers, by providing access to products and services at a significantly reduced cost. The consumption of content in smaller, more tailored units of delivery and consumption, will benefit companies who adopt affinity-based advertising and customized marketing through "advice ecosystems."

An extended discussion of this topic is available on Oxford Analytica's website. Oxford Analytica is an independent strategic-consulting firm drawing on a network of more than 1,000 scholar experts at Oxford and other leading universities and research institutions around the world. You need to register, but it's well worth it.

Oxford Analytica http://www.oxan.com
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