Is the future going out of print? Why we’re confident books will survive the digital age

Robert Fulford | June 6, 2016 2:59 PM ET

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The philosopher Francis Bacon, looking out at the future from his vantage point in the English 17th century, said that everyone should consider the effect of three inventions that were unknown in ancient times: Printing, gunpowder and the compass. “These three have changed the appearance and state of the whole world.”

Printing was the innovation Bacon put first, and the one that concerns us most in 2016. Printing made the modern era possible by disseminating the books that opened new ways of thinking and encouraged new human aspirations. Under the influence of printing, the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance and modern science all sprang to life. It was a revolution – “the Unacknowledged Revolution,” as one modern historian called it because (despite Bacon) most of the world didn’t understand what was happening.

Today, on the other hand, we know the change that confronts us. The printing era shows signs of coming to an end. Bookstores everywhere are closing down because many people prefer to read books in digital form or perhaps prefer not to read. What is at stake? Literacy, literature and the culture of books, with its vast libraries and its flourishing (but often unprofitable) publishers. All of it is in danger. Read more…

 

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Skills college grads still need to learn to impress hiring managers

4 TED Talks That Help Librarians Explain the Magic of Libraries

Since 2006, millions have been inspired by TED Talks: short, inspirational and educational videos by speakers expounding on topics from science to spirituality to dance. TED stands for technology, education and design, and its stated mission is to spread ideas.

The talks are often thought provoking and the speakers passionate about their topics. None last more than 18 minutes.

While a pleasure to watch, the videos also can provide librarians with a jumping point for their own blog posts and public talks.

Here are four TED Talks that you can use to help explain the magic of your public library.

Lisa Bu, How Books Can Open Your Mind

Lisa Bu is the content distribution manager for TED. In her talk, she shares details about her early life in China, and how, after moving to America, she turned to books to “expand her mind and create a new path for herself.” She used comparative reading to develop a better understanding of many subjects.

“Compare and contrast gives scholars a more complete understanding of a topic. So I thought, well, if comparative reading works for research, why not do it in daily life too? So I started reading books in pairs.”

 How to use it: This is a great opportunity to recommend and promote the public library’s collection. For example, you can build on Ms. Bu’s reading list. Or create your own “compare and contrast” book pairs. The opportunities are limitless, and this could become a regular series for your public library blog.  Read more…

 

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The Life of a Cultural Historian November 25, 2015

English Literature Professor Manfred Weidhorn Reflects on 52 Year Career at Yeshiva University

Since 1963, Yeshiva University students looking for an engaging encounter with English literature have been able to find courses taught by Dr. Manfred Weidhorn, the Abraham and Irene Guterman Chair in English Literature and professor emeritus of English, on the roster.

20151119_Manfred_Weidhorn_020An immigrant from Vienna who earned his PhD in English at Columbia University, Weidhorn is a prolific scholar and writer whose works include a dozen non-fiction books and over a hundreds essays on Shakespeare, Milton, Winston Churchill, Galileo, literary themes, cultural history, and the relationship between religion and science, in addition to young adult biographies of Napoleon, Robert E. Lee, and Jackie Robinson. At Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women, he has taught classes on topics that range from the Russian short novel to the Scientific Revolution and everything in between, encouraging students to approach each topic in new and sometimes unconventional ways.

Read more…

Addressing Interdisciplinary Digital Literacy | The Cengage Learning Blog

February 25th, 2013

What does “digital literacy” mean to students as it applies to your courses? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below, or e-mail us at thinktank@cengage.com.

As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, digital literacy is an essential tool for preparing students for their future workplaces. When you teach students how to be digitally literate, you’re not only instilling important technical skills, but also an understanding of appropriate use of that technology. But being digitally literate doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Depending on a student’s field of study, his or her needs in understanding certain technology skills could vary greatly.

In this video, Cengage Learning author Ken Baldauf discusses his work in evaluating what digital literacy means for students in various fields of study. He talks about how he studies the ways in which computers are used in each discipline to uncover what computer skills are needed in various areas of study, thereby equipping students with the technology skills needed to prepare them for careers in their degree program fields. Read more…

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