Read ahead with NetGalley (free prepub ebooks!)

A public librarian friend recently introduced me to NetGalley, “a service to promote titles to professional readers of influence. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to request, read and provide feedback about forthcoming titles” (from the website at ). Librarians can indeed join for free and receive preview e-copies of books.

I’ve tried it out. After sign-up I looked through the listings of books available for preview (trying to be fair and keeping to titles that would be of interest to those who use my library). Some titles can be downloaded immediately, but for most one must request the title from the publisher. The publisher will look at the profile of the person requesting the title, so it’s a good idea to create a profile that will accurately represent your position and sphere of influence in reader’s advisory and purchasing for your institution.

If the publisher approves your request you’ll get an email. You go to the NetGalley website to arrange to download your book. I’ve taken to downloading them in epub rather than Kindle, after finding problems with some Kindle formatting. The e-books you receive are not as perfectly formatted or as pretty as the final version will be; it can be more like reading advance galleys in print.

After completing a book – or reading as much as you are going to – you return to NetGalley to provide feedback to the publisher. Publishers want to see feedback. You are not required to provide it, but if you don’t you may find your requests being denied.

I’ve requested about a half-dozen books so far, and finished most of them. A couple will be good selections for my library. Some that seemed like possible choices are not as good as I expected. Some I may not purchase, but will remember for reader’s advisory or reference in the future.

Wayback on the Web

   Ever needed to see an old web page? Ever wish someone had archived your institution’s website from way back when? The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine can help. They have a few web pages saved – about 417 billion, in fact. A quick search revealed my own museum’s site has been saved 152 times between January 25, 1999 and June 25, 2014. That means a number of pages on exhibitions that might have been lost when we didn’t archive them are actually still available.

The automated archiving can’t be perfect. Some dynamic features and images are among the things that may not have been saved. For more info on issues such as copyright, how to link to an archived page, how to cite an archived page properly, or how to remove a page you wish to keep private from the archive, see the FAQ.

Surfing the Wayback is an ideal activity for late Friday afternoon. See how far web design has come. Track trends in colors and menus. Remember old events and old friends. This is the Web’s old photo album – enjoy!

Museum of International Folk Art

Useful news and tools will continue soon, but first I have to brag about my library’s home museum. Today the Museum of International Folk Art was named Voter’s Choice Best Museum in Santa Fe by the Santa Fe Reporter.  Santa Fe has many excellent museums, so this is quite the honor. The photo is from a current exhibit, Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico, now  in our Hispanic Heritage Wing.

Alas, the Reporter has no category for best library, but I am feeling winner-ish this week anyway. Together with our partner Library at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture / Laboratory of Anthropology, my own Bartlett Library went live Monday on a brand new Koha system hosted by ByWater Solutions. Since we were migrating from a non-MARC InMagic database set up in the 1990’s, it was … an adventure, to say the least.

Please email to share your news here on the Mountain West Chapter blog.

Free Training from WebJunction

OCLCWebJunction, with support from OCLC, the Gates Foundation, and many state library agencies across the United States, has made all its library-specific training resources, archived webinars and self-paced online courses, available for free to all paid library workers and volunteers in the U.S.  Users will need to set up new accounts to take advantage of these resources. While many of the courses apply most directly to public libraries, some have broader application. I’m planning to glance at the ones related to RDA and to grantwriting.

And the prize for best completion of an unfinished work…

People working on the tapestry (Image from the BBC News)

This is my idea of a library program. These stitchers from the Alderney Tapestry Project have just completed a new final piece for the Bayeaux Tapestry. The work was done in the Alderney Library, and Librarian Kate Russell was among those working on the tapestry.

Some scholars believe the Bayeaux Tapestry, which depicts the Norman conquest of England, originally included – or was intended to include – a final panel showing the coronation of William the Conqueror. The Alderney Tapestry Project, working faithfully in the style of the original, has now provided that scene. Bayeaux Tapestry: The Islanders Who Finished the Final Scenes, by Ben Chapple of BBC News, details some of the important decisions the embroiderers had to make. Yes, embroiderers, because the Bayeaux Tapestry is not actually a tapestry at all.

An interesting approach to app development… reports on a competition, complete with 24-hour “hackathon,” for programmers to develop a new app for the Detroit Public Library . The competition is sponsored by Automation Alley, “a technology business association and business accelerator dedicated to growing the economy of Southeast Michigan.” Interested programmers and app developers could win a $5000 cash prize for creating the best app.

So here’s an example of a great outside-the-box partnership. Automation Alley gets a chance to encourage and promote app developers in their area. The developers might get $5000, and at least get a few meals and energy drinks during the hackathon as well as a chance to compete, show off what they can do, and have fun doing it. Detroit Public Library gets its app – probably a much cooler, more creative app than they would have gotten through a traditional development process. Everybody gets great exposure and press. Three cheers for Detroit!

So what crazy collaboration ideas does this give you? Do we get too locked in to traditional RFP and bid processes? Do we have to stay there?