Thursday, 1 March 2012 11:47
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-1-bw)
Still In The Hunt

One of my short stories has been shortlisted as one of the nine finalists to The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest. This contest is in support of The Merril Collection of the Toronto Public Library.
The Merril Collection, originally the Spaced Out Library and later renamed for the late Judith Merril, is the foremost North American public assemblage of Speculative, SF and Fantasy Fiction and is an invaluable tool for enthusiasts, researchers and authors.

A Special Collection of the Toronto Public Library system, the Merril Collection houses a comprehensive array of over 72,000 (and growing) items. The reference stacks include hardcover and paperback fiction, first and rare editions, TPB graphic works and comic collections, pulp and later era magazines, fanzines, research material and critical essays/reference works and compendia – as well as donated original manuscripts from authors such as Phyllis Gottlieb and Guy Gavriel Kay.

The prizes include C$350, C$100 and C$50 cash awards and publication on their website. But then there's this cool new addition/edition (grin):
The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest is adding a very limited edition (5 copies) hand crafted booklet, containing the stories of the 2011-2012 winning authors, to the prize pool. One copy will remain in the Merril Collection as part of the permanent archives. One copy will be retained by the artist producing the booklets, and the others will be distributed, one booklet each, among the winning authors. The details for the production of the booklet are not yet fixed as the design specifics are dependent on the length of the winning works, among other factors.

So good luck to all the nine finalists!

Dr. Phil

PS - a few of you might be able to figure out which story is mine when they list the nine finalist titles later today. Please respect the contest and don't say anything linking my name and the story title together until they have announced the winners. Thanks!
dr_phil_physics: (studio-shoot)
Ca-ca-ca-catalog ca-ca-catalog at the University of Washington iSchool

A friend of mine linked this on Facebook: "Librarians Do Gaga". It's cute and catchy -- and even includes the Famous Nancy Pearl. (If you have to ask, you're no library geek -- grin.) And it's not the first university library YouTube video I've provided links, too. (double-trouble-grin)

Students and faculty from the University of Washington's Information School get their groove on.

Directed, edited, and produced by Sarah Wachter.
Lyrics by Sarah Wachter.
Lyrics available here.
More info available here.
Now captioned for the Deaf and hearing impaired.

Vocals and sound editing by Laura Mielenhausen.


Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
A Study Of Contrasts

Via [ profile] jaylake.

Shorpy posted two high res photos of the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress -- one from 1905 and one from 2007.

There are a number of interesting comparisons to make between these two photos. Obviously one is black & white and the other is color. And also the more recent photograph can show off the splendor of recent renovation efforts. There is also no missing the semicircular altar of modern technology at the bottom center of the 2007 photo: computers, security monitors, printers, etc. If there is even a telephone in the main reading room of 1905, it isn't visible in my quick view. Interestingly, because of the better light and color, books are actually better highlighted in the 2007 photo.

But as a photographer, I see other differences. In 1905 the photo required a long time exposure, presumably in daylight. This results in the main reading room being inhabited by ghosts. Some are sitting, some are at that central semicircular counter. None are sitting or standing so still for long enough that they are clearly visible. This is a library which is being used. These people are turning in their chairs to get up. They are poring over multiple books and writing on their papers. They are not stationary statues.

In 2007, the Phase One P45+ digital back is able to take a picture with available illumination which is sharp and shows but a moment. Pristine and crystal clear sharp. But it is devoid of people. Today they can take this picture with the place all lit up, but either not during business hours or when no one is visible. It is a pristine main reading room -- and also stark and unused. I'm not sure that was ever the intent of the photograph, but it was only through the comparison with the 1905 photo that I noticed this.

Another area where technology has clearly improved in 102 years -- the lens. Scroll up both photos to the glorious arch of the dome and over to the far left upper corner. That blurring you see in 1905 is from the lens. Lenses in general and wide-angles in particular are much more advanced. I've been looking over some of the camera and lenses developed since I bought my last major 35mm Nikon SLR equipment some twenty-five or so years ago, especially in the last decade, and some of the specs of the lenses read like science fiction to the photographer of the 1970s and 1980s.

What will the photo from 2109 look like?

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (lifesavers-winslet)
Lots Of People Commenting On The Old Spice Ad(s)

Seems the new Old Spice dude is quite the hot ticket online, including lots of viral mini-spots in character. I especially am fond of the reveal of the motorcycle at the end:

Well, You Just Knew There Were Going To Be Parodies

But this one is academic -- I've already posted it to my class' Facebook group. (grin)

Go University Libraries!

Dr. Phil


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