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Uniform Titles for Music
by Michelle S. Koth

This book covers one aspect of cataloging music materials - generating uniform titles (i.e., standardized titles used to link all instances of a work together). Koth covers the subject in great detail, providing instructions and examples for just about every case and type of material that one might encounter. It's not exciting reading, but she is completely clear and concise, throughout, so I could grasp all the concepts quickly. Uniform Titles for Music does the job, and does it exceedingly well.
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The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web
by Jesse James Garrett

This was one of the texts for my Information Architecture class. I really liked it both as a textbook and in general as a resource on web design. It's straightforwardness and pure usefulness are its biggest assets. Garrett is clear, direct, and concise throughout the the book, and the diagrams were truly helpful in illustrating and explaining concepts. His framework and approach is logical and practical - it would be relevant and useful for just about any type of website or other such projects.
kenjari: (piano)
Last week in Audio Preservation, we had a guest lecture from Patrick Feaster, sound historian and ethnomusicologist, regarding the earliest recordings. It was amazing, and mind-blowing, and I had to bite my lips to stop myself from blurting out "holy shit" at one point.
Most of us learned that in around 1878 Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and that was the advent of sound recording. It turns out that isn't so. The earliest extant recordings date from before the Civil War. 1857, to be exact.
In the 1854s, a French man named Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville invented a machine he called the phonautograph. It had a plaster barrel/funnel with a membrane at the end. This membrane was attached to a stylus, which in turn was brought into contact with a hand-cranked drum. A lamp-black covered paper was wrapped around the drum. As someone spoke or sung into the funnel, one could crank the drum and the stylus would etch the soundwaves into the paper. Mostly this was intended as a way to study acoustics, but de Martinville also had intentions of developing a speech to text converter based on the phonautograph. Thus, unfortunately, a playback device or method was not developed for it at the time.
Luckily, thanks to technological advances in optical scanning developed at the Berkeley Laboratories, we now can play these back. And it is jaw dropping. The recordings are not clear - I could not make out any of the words at all. But the one's of de Martinville himself are easily recognizable as an individual human voice. Give them a listen. He did this before the Civil War and we can still hear him today.
We also got to listen to some of the experimental recordings that Alexander Graham Bell's laboratory made (post-Edison) as they tested different kinds of discs and recording methods. During a test recording of "Mary Had a Little Lamb", something clearly went wrong - you can even see a damaged spot on the disc itself. Naturally, this caused alarm on the part of the testers. The official transcript of the disc indicates their reaction as "oh no". But if you listen carefully to the recording itself, that is not quite what is being said. And thus we got to hear the very first known recording of someone exclaiming "oh fuck", on March 11, 1885.
You can find out more at the First Sounds website.
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Collection Development and Management for 21st Century Library Collections: An Introduction
by Vicki L. Gregory

This was the textbook for my Collection Development class. And it is a textbook, complete with discussion questions, vocabulary, and lists for further reading at the end of each chapter. And it did the job: covered all the issues, explained all the concepts, and provided plenty of resources. The prose was exactly what you want in a textbook: plain, direct, and easy to read. It was published in 2011, so it's up to date on most of the concepts and issues surrounding electronic resources.

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