Thursday, 31 January 2008
Wednesday, 30 January 2008
One question TheLeedsArcadesProject gets asked alot is 'How Will Technology influence the University Library Service of the Future?'
Always eager to please we've prepared a few notes on the subject to try to answer this question: MODERN RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
MODERN RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
A recent study showed that while 84% of internet users begin searching with a search engine, only 1% start with a library website.
In an age when the internet is king, university libraries are not keeping pace with change. Libraries should foster closer links with internet search engines.
The Google generation - those born after 1993 have no recollection of life before the web. For them any barriers to access - be that additional log-ins, payment or hard copy - are too high, and information behind those barriers will increasingly be ignored.
The business case for libraries is beginning to look weak to many outside the profession.
Libraries offer an enormous range of valuable publisher content to their users but often through systems that seem far less intuitive than the ubiquitous search engine. So librarians need to gain a much better understanding of how people actually behave in a virtual library setting.
“A recent survey found that researchers in all disciplines will expect, irrespective of the institution to which they are affiliated, that most of the resources they need will be available freely, wherever and whenever they want.” Michael Jubb, THES, Jan 4th 2008. P14.
INFORMATION V’s KNOWLEDGE
Last week Professor Tara Brabazon of Brighton University delivered a lecture “Google Is White Bread for the Mind” claiming that “there should be more investment in books. Students must not be allowed to accept as truth anything they can find through Google, including “facts” given credence by Wikipedia. User-generated content is creating an age of banality and mediocrity, and stifling debate.”
The idea that Wikipedia and its like provide information without the ability to judge its value is commonplace but a recent survey (Nature, 2007) found that Wikipedia had roughly the same number of errors as the Encyclopaedia Britannica (Brit 2.9, Wiki 3.9). And of course Wikipedia has the ability to correct itself much more quickly.
Should I trust Macaulay’s error-littered History of Britain simply because it is bound in leather and I need to take a trip to the library to find it
There’s a lot of controversy about blogs, Facebook and other user added content such as wikipedia, but Facebook allows interesting work-related discussions and can be used as a quick way of alerting people to important information.
However while “right now people are enamoured of blogs and wikis and Facebook,” five years from now will usher in a whole new set of tools and fashions.
libraries have a challenge and opportunity to re-package content and services for emerging technologies.
Mobile phones are increasingly media players, photo cameras, text readers, digital wallets, remote controls, and Instant Messaging tools.
Personal computers will continue to get smaller and faster, and be untied from work or home desktops.
For all of these technologies, users will naturally expect the functionality of an “information utility” to be built-in, where “answers” are available whenever and wherever they are needed.
If you wonder how devices can get smaller and yet replace the PC, keep in mind that a major innovation we're seeing right now is vastly-improved voice-recognition software. While it only works on the fast processors of a PC today, the inexorable growth of computing power will soon take that kind of power into your cell phone.
There is also sight recognition software which allows you to look at a screen and press a smart key.
Sony has already patented a game system that beams data directly into the brain without implants, reports Taylor.
Natural user interfaces have long been a focus for Microsoft.
In the future the steady buildup of content on the Internet will continue unabated. Databases will be increasingly self-indexed, providing far more accurate navigation of the World Wide Web's contents by search-engine services.
Nobody in wireless dares project over 25 years.
Wireless systems will become a big, interoperable Internet cloud.
USB modems and wireless cards work on cellular networks, and can get your laptop online almost anywhere. It's 2008, and I still can't find a working Wi-Fi hotspot half the time. But that's okay because three major cellular service providers now have nationwide high-speed data networks to connect PCs and Macs to the Internet pretty much anywhere.
HOW SHOULD LIBRARIES REACT?
Many scholarly resources may not be part of electronic catalogues, databases or online journals. Instead, they may reside in local databases, available via the web but difficult to locate. Web search engines have difficulty indexing these items, and those that are indexed are not readily retrievable by search engines that typically return many thousands of hits. The ongoing deployment of institutional repository software and search engines represents an initiative to recover this hidden wealth. However as previously stated this is an area which future technological developments will improve dramatically.
Repositories, libraries and Google complement each other in helping to provide a broad range of services to information seekers. Relying on Google to provide search and discovery of this hidden material misses out a valuable step, that of making it available in the first instance. That is why university libraries need Google and Google needs university libraries.
Indeed Google is free unlike many of the repositories that libraries pay for.
Websites like Intute, Librarian’s Internet Index, Bubl or Infomine, which all select or catalogue educational websites, are usually a good starting point for students.
There are many other similar valuable databases:-
- SFX buttons links Google to the university catalogue
- RSS feeds which can be set up via library to inform user student of new acquisitions that may interest them.
- ETHOS British Library Thesis project. Bradford Uni has similar project.
- ATHENS/SHIBOLLETH – login services which allow one login for all services. Holy grail of this sort of thing one login allowing access to Blackboard - dept notifications/ SAINT – Student records/notifications/ Email/ Library News/notifications/ Metalib news + Metalib login to all databases available.
- Metalib/ Rooms – Multiple handling of databases via one portal
- Higher education institutions are eager to develop e-book collections, JISC has found the SuperBook project SuperBook is an action research study funded by Emerald and Wiley publishers, which involves ‘dropping’ more than 3,000 books.
It is hugely important that the Library resources are marketed well, both through presentations and training by Subject Specialist Librarians and via the Library’s own web pages. I believe it is imperative that the Library needs to find ways to present the resources available in an appealing, exciting and technically straightforward way to the new generation of technically savvy students.
One login portals, integrated portals and updates and attractive presentation are all key.
Learning is becoming more virtual and diffuse. Therefore, the value of the Library as a community and intellectual commons will take on even greater significance. Students and other academic library users increasingly view the Library as a “converged space.” In other words, the Library will be challenged to provide a physical environment wherein social activities, studying, and research occur simultaneously and transparently. Increasingly libraries have social spaces, coffee bars, talking area’s, quiet area’s, etc.
At some point, when a student has to learn something, it doesn’t matter where they get the material from, they have to sit down and learn it. We haven’t found a way to just insert it without you working on it. For many people, that means the library.
LIBRARIAN OF THE FUTURE
With Future developments it is highly likely that future librarians will become more computer technicians. Indeed many of the staff to be physically found in academic libraries are often IT helpers.
Although since software becomes easier to use everyday, and packages interact with each other more easily perhaps the need for computer skills is less.
Eg: The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
The head of book cataloguing department is linking e-journals to the library homepage, the head of book acquisitions department does preparation for licensing e-journals, The heads of reader services, cataloguing and acquisitions serve as the library homepage editorial team, The information specialist classifies e-journals, the reference librarians take part in various tasks regarding the development of the electronic library.
Librarians should be highly visible and well integrated into the activities of their institution and the community they serve. This means that academic librarians should be valued as essential to the teaching, learning and research activities of the university. In some universities it is currently the case that librarians are physically located in their school or academic dept whilst in other universities they are grouped in the library. In the school they have greater interactivity with subject experts, in the library greater interaction with other information professionals.
In the future the librarian is the eyes and ears of the research community, constantly surveying and mapping the information universe for colleagues. Librarians are the ones who know how to find and use the most up-to-date version of scholarly resources, how long these resources are likely to maintain their current shape and content, and how the process of change works.
The Librarian of the future will spend time navigating the information highway to discover the best info sources, these could then be bought in or if freely available listed on the university web site.
Expertise is another issue, there is simply no substitute for the knowledge and guidance a librarian can provide. Those services will become ever more important as information overload grows.
It’s this need for human contact and help navigating the morass of information that many believe will preserve academic libraries, no matter how much information becomes available digitally. Students will continue to need assistance sifting through and analyzing the morass of available information.
Last week I asked the Academic Liaison Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Bradford Uni what is the best part of her job and she replied:
“What I find most rewarding is when a student or researcher walks through the door and asks me where to look for information on a subject. It’s the combination of the human contact and the challenge of finding the best information sources that I enjoy the most.”
Sunday, 27 January 2008
The above photograph shows a young Miss Chang with her three sisters, when their family still lived in Shanghai.
Friday, 25 January 2008
We are now, my dear sir, in a land where the women go naked, one could say, in the words of the poet, "as naked as your hand", because rings are about the only costume they wear. I have fucked Nubian girls wearing necklaces of gold piastres, that hung down to their thighs, and across their black bellies they had belts made of coloured beads. And their dancing! Dear God!
At Esuch in one day I fired five shots and had myself sucked off three times-I say this unambiguously and without circumlocution.
At Kena I fucked a beautiful bit of stuff who liked me alot. I had another one, a lewd fat thing. I greatly enjoyed myself on top of her.
I suffer as you do at the idea of shit being disinfected. but have you thought about the destruction of schoolboys' bogs? Red faced, squatting on his heels, between the yellow finger marks that fleck the plaster walls and the pools of urine all over the floor, the schoolboy silently wanking away at his lovesick cock will not henceforth have that acrid smell tingling in his nose and adding to his pleasure. It makes him do it quicker, almost vomiting with disgust as he so blissfully ejaculates. I shall smoke a pipe hereupon, behind my mosquito-net.
Thursday, 24 January 2008
"I was in the company of a lady, we were at an exhibition. My lady had treated her teeth according to the technique that the exhibition was advertising. She had polished them to an opalescent shine. The colour of her teeth ran to dull green and blue. I took pains to make her understand most politely that this was not the correct use of the product. Anticipating my thoughts, she pointed out that the inner surface of her teeth were inlaid in red. I had indeed meant to say that, for teeth, the brightest colours are scarcely bright enough."
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
"In smiling, one feels oneself growing small wings. Smiling and fluttering are related.
One is very much struck by how long one's sentences are. The arcade is also a phenomenon of long extension, perhaps combined with vistas receding into distant, fleeting, tiny perspectives. The element of the diminutive would serve to link the idea of the arcade to laughter.
Oven turns into cat.
The word 'ginger' is uttered and suddenly in place of the desk there is a fruit stand."
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
Benjamin was obsessed by dreams. His diaries are littered with accounts of his dreams. Here's one he had:-
"Last night I dreamed I had company. Friendly things came my way; I believe they consisted primarily of women taking an interest in me- indeed, even commenting favourably on my appearance."
Monday, 21 January 2008
Friday, 18 January 2008
Somebody deep fries a mouse but none of us will eat it.
Someone is trying to get me to sing Elvis songs in front of a specially invited audience.
Paul is de-fumigating the library. Apparently it’s to prevent AIDS.
In the Valley where we live something is found. It is shell like, like something from a Bosch painting. It is Jason and despite been trapped in the shell for years he is still alive. Someone upsets him and he begins to cry. His tears fill the valley and start to flood the whole area. We get into a white van and escape but he doesn’t stop crying and it looks like it will flood the whole world.
I am trying to tell Fran about how Franco, as a little boy, sexually abused other children. She doesn’t seem to be interested.
I am collaborating on a record with Bruce Springsteen and trying to persuade Prince Andrew to let me use the recording studio in the
Mark is an evil madman and has kidnapped Amy. I try to rescue her but I know he will have a string of booby traps to try to stop me. I have a jewel which fits into my forehead. It keeps me cool.
I dream I am watching Amanda Donohoe being tortured by some invisible force. The force seems to be within her and is consuming her from within. She writhes in agony. She is, of course, naked. Her skin ripples as the creature within eats away at her insides. She is tied down by her ankles and wrists. Did I do that? I don’t remember doing it. I watch for what seems like an hour. She screams constantly. Her agony seems to me to become a sort of sexual ecstasy. Her moans seem like moans of pleasure. She shouts “Yes, Yessss, take more, go on take more. Oh, oh, take more, make it something big, something that’ll really hurt, oh, take a leg, go on take a leg.”
And it does. And she screams.
I dream I live next door to Hitler. He’s a really bad neighbour, there are always loads of people coming round and lots of shouting. Amy goes round to tell him to keep it down abit. Hours pass and she doesn’t return. I go round to see if she is alright. When I get there she is sat down next to him, chatting. I ask her what’s going on and she says “He’s really seductive”. She has totally fallen under his spell and indeed, he is quite charming. We all sit around chatting for hours and have a thoroughly lovely time. Eventually it gets late and we have to make our excuses and head home. We promise to pop around again soon.
Thursday, 17 January 2008
Benjamin in the Future issue 7 was the so called Sex issue. Benjamin is in some large city which is ruled by some sort of private peacekeeping force (mercenaries). They have subdued the population by means of a pheromone gas which is pumped into every home, and even forms a visible fog in the air outside.
With his robot body, Benjamin has no need for air, so is immune to the effects of the gas, but in everyone else it induces a sexual frenzy. Most of the (18 years and above) issue is taken up with Benjamin wandering the streets encountering various sexual tableau. This issue was the only one of the series not drawn by Salech as he didn’t feel he could do justice to the salacious nature of many of the scenes. Instead cheesecake artist Ron Khafc was brought in, and produced some of the best work of his career doing particular justice to the 'Lesbian Blowjob Competition' scenes.
Below is a brief summary of some of the scenes that Benjamin witnesses until he eventually, as always, manages, (mostly by accident), to find a way to stop this aberration from the norm and liberate the city.
Two Lesbians at a works party, in the guys toilets, having a blowjob competition. They announce, anyone who wants a blowjob just come along to the toilets. They each take a cubicle and see which of them can do the most blowjobs in the course of the evening. It gets pretty busy.
Young girls home alone wanking off their dogs. Female babysitters having sex with their prepubescent charges.
In a night club girls openly having sex with guys, Benjamin stands transfixed as he watches a girl sitting on the knee of one guy. He is obviously fucking her in his seated position. She then moves on to his mate and sits on his knee, he produces her knickers from between her legs and puts them down on the table in front of her, all the guys laugh and cheer, she laughs too, he fucks her also. She moves onto the next guy and the next. Further down the line a guy bends her over the table and displays her ass for all to see. The camera phones come out.
Students in a large shared house are having a party; one Spanish girl in a very short skirt is flirting with all the guys. She’s drunk and ends up sexy dancing around the room, even lying on the floor and doing a sexy wriggle. At first it was funny, something to see, but after a while everyone’s mind is starting to wander. Trying to get attention back onto her she chimes up “Anyone wants to fuck me?” The room is packed with guys, who, Yeah, they all want a crack at that, she leads them outside to the garden and they form a nice orderly queue, and so it starts....
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
What is their significance?
What is the riddle of their bequest?
All Benjamin said of them was that they were a puzzle and "many puzzles can be solved simply through an image, but they can be saved only through the word."
What does this statement mean? So far nobody has been able to solve this puzzle. We present four of the postcards above.
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Monday, 14 January 2008
Friday, 11 January 2008
The materials in the boxes have become known as the Salech Collection, they are currently in the possession of a Miss Lomay Chang, who has theorised that Salech was journeying through Portbou in an attempt to find Benjamin's missing suitcase from the night he killed himself in Portbou.
What happened to the mysterious suitcase Benjamin was carrying with him as he attempted to cross the Pyrenees has long been a subject of some debate. Some believe it contained the final manuscript of The Arcades Project; others a final version of the theses On The Concept of History.
Companions travelling with Benjamin, remember the suitcase but never knew what was in it or what happened to it after Benjamin’s death. On their journey over the Pyrenees he had guarded it jealously, but after his body was found there was no further mention of it in the official version of events. Lisa Fittko, who helped Benjamin in his escape from France, attested that Benjamin wanted the briefcase to be saved above everything else; for it contained a document which he considered the most important thing of all, more important than even his own life.
According to the police report of Benjamin's suicide the briefcase was with Benjamin's body on that fate full morning and it contained "some texts. Papers with unknown contents." Also in the case were:
At sometime after this report was written the suitcase disappeared and has not been heard of since.
So, what happened to Salech in Portbou? Did he really journey to Portbou looking for the suitcase? If so, how did he think he would find this item when it had disappeared so totally? Did he find the missing suitcase? What was the text in there that was worth more than Benjamin's own life? Is the text somehow connected to Salech's own disappearance?
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Flauberts letter from Naples to Camille Rogier:-
So I've been sticking to ladies, mature women, large women, I frequent an establishment that offers the maternal pleasures.
Max is content to ravage the heart of the girl in the Hotel where we are staying. He misuses his talents so as to unsettle that young creature who gazes upon him with flames in her eyes and, in the night, probably pisses red for him into her virginal chamber-pot."
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Admired by Benjamin, Kafka and The Leeds Arcades Project, sexual experimenter and hopeless romantic, Gustave Flaubert has featured here before but today, a brief biography of the big man.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), was a French novelist of the realist period, best known for his sensational Madame Bovary (1857), a classic tale of romance and retribution. (It was criticised then banned for a period after its first release).
Gustave Flaubert was born in
In the 1830s Flaubert attended the Collége Royal de Rouen, writing for its newspaper, reading Shakespeare, travelling extensively and at the age of fourteen began in earnest his own writings, inspired by his unconsummated love affair at this time with the much older and married Elisa Schlésinger.
After unsuccessfully studying law in Paris in the early 1840s, the perfectionist in Flaubert (one of his maxims being: "Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”) begins a brisk period of further Correspondence (1926-1933) with various family and friends, including Georges Sand. He once wrote to Sand “The age of politics is over” and thus he began developing his philosophy of rejection of The State and Neo-Catholic political and social views of his time.
After the death of his father Flaubert lived in
Flaubert embarked on a trip to
In 1870 Flaubert became very sick, but continued to write after attaining Chevalier, Legion of Honour, though ironically he resisted ennobling human nature in his writings. Anne Justine Caroline Flaubert, his mother, died in 1872, the one woman to provide constancy and comfort to Gustave.
Afflicted by syphilis and rapidly declining health, two weeks before his death, he told his niece Caroline, "Sometimes I think I'm liquefying like an old Camembert." Three Tails (1877) contains A Simple Heart, his tribute to Georges Sand, Saint Julien and Herodias. On 8 May, 1880, Flaubert suddenly died from brain hemorrhage.
He is buried at
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
"At Asja's, I initially found myself alone with her, she was very listless, or perhaps only pretending to be in order to avoid any conversation with me."
Monday, 7 January 2008
Friday, 4 January 2008
He met her in 1924 on Capri and fell immediately under her spell. They met in Berlin later in 1924 and then in Riga in 1925.
He writes One-Way Street and dedicates it to her;-
"This street is named Asja Lacis Street, after the engineer who laid it through the author."
In 1926 Benjamin travels to Moscow to be with Asja. Unfortunately, when he arrives she is in a mental hospital. Benjamin never discovers what exactly is wrong with her and why she is in the sanatorium and what her treatment entails. His attempts to woo Asja are consistently ignored, his pathetic attempts to get just one kiss out of her are never to be realised. Indeed, all these two lovers really ever do is argue. She is even romantically involved with Reich at this time and will marry him later in life. This bizarre love triangle is still a puzzle as Benj and Reich were also firm friends.
What makes the time in Moscow even more puzzling is the fact that a year later she came to visit Benj in Frankfurt whilst he was divorcing his wife on her account!
Thursday, 3 January 2008
Adjoining County Arcade is The Victoria Quarter where one of Leeds' most famous shops can be found; Harvey Nichols. The Leeds branch of Harvey Nicks (as it is affectionately known) was the first outside of London. A sort of upmarket department store which despite the high price tags is strangely as shit as most other department stores, Harvey Nicks is mostly full of Oriental Girls buying expensive moisturisers and bags. Other shoppers to be found in this mecca of over groomed male shop assistants are Yorkshire Sloanes (a phrase which seems monstrous), Prince William dress-a-likes and Paris Hilton wanna bee's. And now for a few facts:-
In 1813, Benjamin Harvey opened a linen shop in a terraced house on the corner of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street in London. The business passed on to Harvey's daughter in 1820 on the understanding that she go into partnership with Colonel Nichols, selling Oriental carpets, silks, and luxury goods alongside the linens.
2003: Objections were made to a magazine advertisement that appeared in Vogue, ELLE and Harpers & Queen and on a poster. The complainants objected that the advertisement was irresponsible, because it showed unsafe driving and was offensive to people who had been, or who knew people who had been, involved in road accidents.
2004: protests stopped Harvey Nichols selling fur. In a statement, Clive Morton, the Company Director of Harvey Nichols, said: "The board has today reviewed the company’s fur policy and has decided going forward that we will no longer stock real fur items."
2005: 22-year-old Clare Bernal, a beautician working on the ground floor at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge was shot repeatedly at close range by Michael Pech, her obsessed former lover. Pech then turned the gun on himself, suffering a fatal head wound.
2007: Harvey Nichols decided to take Foie Gras off the shelves in all their stores, nationwide. PETA met up with the department store telling them about the cruelty in foie gras production, which concluded in its removal.
Wednesday, 2 January 2008
"Only Russian was been spoken over dinner. I ate and went into the next room and dozed off. I continued lying on the sofa for a while, now awake and very sad."
Tuesday, 1 January 2008
"During the intermission, i was ahead of her on the stairs for a moment. Suddenly i felt her hand on my neck. At this contact i realised just how long it had been since any hand had touched me with gentleness......
On arriving outside her house, i asked her, more out of defiance and more to test her than out of any real feeling, for one last kiss in the old year. She wouldn't give me one.
I turned back, it was almost New Years, certainly alone but not all that sad. After all, I knew that Asja, too, was alone."
"Today she gave Reich an egg to give to me and wrote 'Benjamin' on it."