The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Wednesday, August 20, 2003

ISBNs for Songs

Music Recommendation: Bruce Cockburn

"Politics aside, though, his music is really amazing. I highly recommend that you get the album 'Nothing But a Burning Light' (see graphic on the right sidebar). Every song on that album is outstanding, and yet each is very different so you won't get bored listening to tunes that all have the same tempo or style. If you click on the aforementioned graphic you will be taken to Amazon's site where you can listen to a few of the songs on the album (his stuff is also available on Apple's iTunes site). Check out the song 'Dream like mine.' To fully appreciate that song you have to put on the headphones and focus on the outstanding arrangement and perfect recording." [Ernie The Attorney]

When I read Ernie's recommendation in my aggregator, I was already listening to something in Rhapsody, so I looked up Bruce Cockburn and found this album listed. I have two other Cockburn albums, one of which is a shorter version of Waiting for a Miracle, Singles 1970-1987. I haven't listened to it in a while, and unfortunately it's not available in Rhapsody, although a different hits collection is there. Later in his post, Ernie recommends seeing Cockburn live if you ever have the chance, a recommendation I will second because I got to see him live with Shawn Colvin a decade ago and they both put on a great show.

I enjoyed being reminded of Cockburn's music, but I was disappointed, though, that Ernie couldn't provide a direct link to the song "Dream Like Mine" that would open automatically open in Rhapsody. It's not his fault, though, because the online music services aren't thinking that far ahead yet. Interoperability is the last thing they want to see.

Last weekend, Carol at asked for standard identifiers for movies, something similar to ISBNs or ISSNs. I would add that we also need identifiers for individual songs, especially in the digital world. It would help everyone, but it would be especially nice for library catalogs because it would help us prepare for the time when we'll be able to loan digital downloads directly from our sites (assuming digital rights management software doesn't prevent libraries from circulating digital files altogether). I don't know enough about FRBR or the other proposals - will they help with this?

It's too bad the online music services aren't thinking along these lines, because it would be a great way to share the tradition of mix tapes, and it would probably generate sales as bloggers and others post direct links to songs for impulse buying. Unfortunately, industry heads are too far down in the sand to see the pot of gold at the end of the digital downloads rainbow.

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Why They Sell Now Classic Bestsellers

How They Sell Now Classic Bestsellers

"Here's A Neat Chart from BookMagazine that shows how well the 'classics' are selling these days Its a look at the best selling classics in 2002, according to BookScan.

The top 5 are The Hobbit, Catcher in the Rye, Red Tent, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lord of the Flies." []

What would have been really interesting was a column on this chart showing when each title is currently scheduled to become available in the public domain. That would be an eye-opener. Anybody have the time to do the research and the math?

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The Bargain Bin in My Aggregator

This Is Mighty Hot

"MightyHot is a free service that keeps track of top-selling products in a variety of categories. They've recently started implementing RSS, and have indicated that they're willing to work with affiliate partners. I have a feeling that these types of feeds will catch impulse buyers in ways that no search engine or price portal ever could." [Lockergnome's RSS Resource]

Agreed. I've bought more stuff off the web from posts in my aggregator over the last six months than any other source. These are ads in my aggregator that *I like.*

Exhibit A: one of my favorite feeds, More Stuff 4 Less Bargain Blog.

Exhibit B: Kevin Savetz' Guide To Buying a Ridiculously Cheap PC.

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Book-based Manila Theme

Announcing 'Librarian, INK'

"I'll been funneling all sorts of helpful links and posts related to librarianship over to the Galileo library blog. This has smacked of unpacking book shipments on the check-out counter. It clutters the public area and is not the best idea for making 'digital library' users comfortable. So with yet another Bryan Bell theme as inspiration, I've moved the 'warehouse' work to a backside blog. Welcome to Librarian, INK." [homoLudens III]

New Pat Delaney blog, new Bryan Bell theme - nice! Is this available as a Radio theme yet?

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Click Here

And as long as we're pointing to library humor, every person that's ever worked with patrons and computers will spit milk out their nose when they read about the Stupida Mouse. [via Male Librarian Centerfold]

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@ Your Liberia

I'm not sure how we all missed this, but the August 9th Boondocks takes a swing at Bush via libraries. Again. (Thanks, Ana!)

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Identifying Solo Librarian's Expertise

The Librarian's Expert Assistance Database

"The Chicago Area Solo Librarians (CASL) proudly launch the Librarian's Expert Assistance Database (LEAD). Please visit CASL's freely available database, which captures and details the skills and experience, the "expertise", of our solo librarians in the Chicago area. The purpose of the project is to facilitate interaction, consultation, and support among local solo librarians embarking on new projects or looking for colleagues with similar talents.

Solo librarians in or near Chicago are welcome to create a profile. Email CASL and request a login and password. Once solo librarians contribute data, they will have full access to the records of other contributing CASL members. All visitors are encouraged to browse our database of solo librarians' talents."

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Singling Out the Music Industry

Downloads, EPs, Singles Conspiring To Kill The Album Format

"More than half a century ago the debut of vinyl LPs was a revelation for music fans. By the early '70s, albums were being stuffed with up to a dozen hit tracks and sometimes ran close to 40 minutes.

Flash forward to today, when CDs max out north of 70 minutes, frequently come bundled with a bonus DVD and cost nearly twice as much as those old albums. Balance that against the ease of illegally downloading your favorite song or legally downloading it from iTunes for less than a buck and you might wonder, 'Who needs to spend $18 on an album?'

You're not alone.

'The days of releasing an album with 17 or 18 cuts are over,' said Charles Goldstuck, president and CEO of the RCA Music Group, home to the Strokes, Christina Aguilera and Foo Fighters. 'It's difficult to give full quality with such an abundance of music. ... I think we can expect to see more extras in the future instead of additional songs....'

According to the most recent numbers from the Recording Industry Association of America, singles sales have seen a precipitous drop-off over the past decade, but don't toss those singles on the 8-track ash heap just yet, Goldstuck said. He is encouraged by success of the debut singles from 'American Idol' winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken, both RCA-affiliated artists. The singles sold more than 285,000 copies their first week out and helped give a boost to the moribund format (see 'Has America Changed Its Mind? Clay Beats Ruben On Singles Chart').

'What that told us about the singles market is that with the right repertoire and setup, you can post the kind of numbers we haven't seen in five or six years,' Goldstuck said. 'I think the success of these songs is causing labels to really look at this area again....'

In addition to singles, the long overlooked EP format is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. Avril Lavigne and Less Than Jake have offered online-only EPs on iTunes, and several artists have released or are preparing to release abbreviated albums this year. Wilco received critical kudos for a six-song, online-only EP earlier this year that was accessible by using a five-digit code included in copies of their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot." []

Look for another article in six months decrying how singles and EPs are ruining the music industry and tanking sales. Singles bad... no, singles good! Geez, don't these folks have whiplash yet from all of the flipping back and forth?

And who knew that MTV is blogging? Not me - no RSS feed.

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Kate, make sure you read today's Dilbert!

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