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November 14, 2005

Don't leave your stuff lying around.

This is the time of year that thieves have discovered a high rate of return in Kelvin Smith Library. The thefts are almost all crimes of opportunity--that is, people leave their belongings on chairs, tables, and other places, and then walk away and leave their things unattended. People go to the printer to pick something up; they go to chat with a friend on the other side of the library; they go to the restroom.

Although we want to make KSL a comfortable and safe environment, KSL staff know through sad previous experiences that it only takes a few seconds for thief to make off with a laptop or book bag.

So a word to the wise: keep your stuff with you at all times, even if you think "I'll only be gone for a minute." That's all it takes to lose your laptop.

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November 02, 2005

Kate Wittenberg Gives Next KSL Digital Library Lecture on Thursday, November 3

On Thursday, November 3, 2005, from 1:30-3:30 PM, Kate Wittenberg, Director of the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia University (EPIC), will lecture on Collaborations in Scholarly Communication: The Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia as part of KSL's 2005/06 Digital Library Lecture Series. The lecture is in the KSL Dampeer Room and is free and open to all. Preregistration is not necessary--just show up!

In developing a partnership that involves the university press, the libraries, and the academic computing system, EPIC has tried to think creatively about how to maintain what is most valuable about what they do, while remaining open to the new realities in their environment. They have asked scholars, students, and librarians what they need, what they want, and what they will pay for, and have tried to use this information to rethink EPIC’s models and plans for building resources for scholarly research and education. The overall goal of this university-based center is to envision and then implement effective ways for acquiring, developing, and disseminating scholarly content in the digital environment. Over the last two years, however, as EPIC has pursued this mission, they have found that their role has grown, and that they have become part of a much larger shift in the role of the university in the area of scholarly communication. In this presentation Kate Wittenberg will describe some of these transformations and what they mean for the future.

The next lecture in the KSL Digital Library Lecture Series will be on Thursday, March 2, 2006, when David Saltz, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Georgia, will discuss Scholarly research and digital publication in the arts and humanities.

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Strunk and White Set to Art and Song

"The Elements of Style Illustrated" (William Strunk Jr., E.B. White)

The other day I was browsing through my local Borders store and I came across a handsome small red bound book that had on the cover the title The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White. This little volume was a far cry from the cheesy tan paperback that sits on my office shelf, and which I refer to with some frequency. "Strunk and White" is the gold standard of American English language usage and has influenced countless writers over the decades. So what was this red book, newly presented? Upon closer inspection, in the lower right corner of the cover is the word "illustrated." It turns out that Maira Kalman, best known for illustrating children's books, came across an old copy of Strunk and White and was taken with the sly examples that elucidate the rules of usage. So she decided to use these examples as the basis for an illustrated version of The Elements of Style.

It turns out that I am not the only one intrigued by this new version of a classic. NPR featured a segment on today's Morning Edition about Kalman's illustrated edition. The feature described several of the illustrations, but went on to say that Maira Kalman decided that pictures were not enough, but she decided that there should be an opera based on The Elements of Style, so she commissioned composer Nico Muhly to write operatic songs based on the text. The operatic version had its first performance in the main reading room of the New York Public Library. I think E.B. White is smiling somewhere in the Great Reading Room of the Beyond.

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