Monthly Archives: December 2017

Are Libraries Better Than the Internet?

Source: Paul Lowry (Flickr)

Yesterday, journalist Marcus Banks published the provocatively titled “Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet” for American Libraries. As he states in his opening line, you’ve probably heard some form of this argument before: “Thanks to the internet, we no longer need libraries or librarians.” But is there any truth to that statement? After all, information abounds on the internet—information that previously you often had to seek out in a library.

As you probably know if you’ve been been a student in one of our instruction sessions, you can’t find everything on the internet. The full text of many academic articles is shrouded behind paywalls; copyright laws prevent you from reading more than a few pages of a book on Google Books; and complex search-engine algorithms bury the piece of information you need on the fifth (or in some cases, fiftieth) page of search results where you won’t see it. Don’t get us wrong; we love the internet. At The Ames Library, however, you never have to pay for the book, article, or e-resource that you need.

Librarians at Ames are also on hand to assist you with points #7 and #8 in Banks’ essay:

7. Librarians can help you sort the real news from the fake. While a plethora of useful, accurate, and engaging content is available online, the web is filled with inaccurate and misleading information. “Click bait” headlines get you to click on the content even if the underlying information is superficial or inaccurate. Misinformation is the spread of deliberate falsehoods or inflammatory content online, such as the Russian-backed ads placed on social media during the 2016 US presidential election. Librarianship has always been about providing objective, accurate, and engaging information that meets the needs of a particular person. This has not changed, and it is why librarians are experts in information literacy.

8. Librarians guide you to exactly what you need. Google is an impressive search engine, but its results can be overwhelming, and many people do not know to filter them by content type (such as .pdf) or website source (such as .gov). Google offers many search tips, which are useful but generic. A conversation with a librarian can clarify exactly what you are looking for and figure out the best way to use Google—or many other resources—to find it.

To learn more about why libraries and librarians are more important than ever, check out the rest of Banks’ article here—or stop by The Ames Library and talk to one of our subject librarians about how to get the information you need to be successful in your classes, grad-school application, and beyond!

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Fall semester is done (mostly). Most of you are probably heading home for winter break and along the way you may even pass the time listening to music. Will you be using your favorite streaming service like Spotify or Pandora? Or do you download your own copies from iTunes, Amazon, or some other favorite option? How long have you been downloading music? Can you remember a time when that wasn’t always an option?

Because, yes – downloading music wasn’t always a thing.

Check out The Online Music Revolution which examines the explosion of legal music downloading and viral marketing, which have enabled enterprising bands and singers to distribute their own work rather than signing with major labels. Focusing on the success of Nizlopi, Arctic Monkeys, Internet marketing pioneer Simply Red, and other artists, the program also features commentary from John Kennedy, chairman of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry–who outlines the potential benefits that big corporations may one day reap from consumer downloading.

Like Reading? We Found Some Lists!

With winter break just around the corner at Illinois Wesleyan, it’s a great time to catch up on your reading. If you’re looking to unwind with a book, but you’re not sure where to start, The Reading Lists might just be the perfect website for you.

What’s it all about? Says project founder Phil Treagus:

From my experience, it’s extremely rare to find someone who has achieved great success without reading a great amount of books.  But now it’s time for these brilliantly wonderful people to give back, to share their wisdom.  What are the books that changed everything for them?  Which books have had the biggest impact on their success?  Well, I’ve decided to take on the mission of unearthing the world’s most inspiring, life-changing and important books.  How will I do this? I intend to go right to the source, the world’s most successful humans.  I will be interviewing amazing guests, and they will be compiling their own reading list.

Some of the guests so far interviewed include astrophysicist Margaret Geller, actor and rapper Doc Brown, musician Henry Rollins, comedian Ahir Shah, robot ethicist Kate Darling, and philosopher Adrian Moore.

Once you’ve decided on a book or three, we’ve got you covered at The Ames Library. We have e-books galore for Kindle and hundreds of titles in our Popular Reading Collection, located on the main floor of the library between the Library Services Desk and the Writing Center. You can borrow a Kindle or titles from the Popular Reading Collection for up to three weeks. Books from the Popular Reading Collection can be renewed two times.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

What is new media? We may begin answering this question by listing the categories commonly discussed under this topic in the popular press: the Internet, Web sites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVD, virtual reality. Is this all there is to new media? What about television programs shot on digital video and edited on computer workstations? Or feature films that use 3-D animation and digital compositing? Shall we also count these as new media? What about images and textimage (meme) compositions – photographs, illustrations, layouts, ads – created on computers and then printed on paper? Where shall we stop?

As can be seen from these examples, the popular understanding of new media identifies it with the use of a computer for distribution and exhibition rather than production. Accordingly, texts distributed on a computer (Web sites and electronic books) are considered to be new media, whereas texts distributed on paper are not. Similarly, photographs that are put on a CD-ROM and require a computer to be viewed are considered new media; the same photographs printed in a book are not.

Has this discussion of new media piqued your interest? Check out some of these books on gaming and how it integrates with cinema, marketing, and business.

Game on, Hollywood!: Essays on the Intersection of Video Games and Cinema

The 14 essays in Game on, Hollywood! take on several points of game and film intersection. They look at storylines, aesthetics, mechanics, and production. The book is about adaptation (video game to film, film to video game), but it is even more about narrative. The essays draw attention to the ways and possibilities of telling a story. They consider differences and similarities across modes of storytelling (showing, telling, interacting), explore the consequences of time, place and ideology, and propose critical approaches to the vastness of narrative in the age of multimedia storytelling.

The video games and film texts discussed include The Warriors (1979 film; 2005 video game), GoldenEye (1995 film), GoldenEye 007 (1997 and 2011 video games), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000–2004, television show), Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (2003 video game), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003 video game; 2010 film), the Star Wars franchise empire (1977 on), Afro Samurai (2009 video game), and Disney’s Epic Mickey (2010 video game).

Brands & Gaming: The Computer Gaming Phenomenon and its Impact on Brands and Businesses

The computer gaming industry is bigger than the film and music industries and is growing faster than both of them put together. The industry is also changing fast. The typical computer gamer is in his mid 20s and female gamers make up one of the faster growing parts of the market. New developments in sociability and interactivity are also transforming the industry. This is the first major study of brands and gaming and shows huge opportunities for brand development.

Games and Gaming: An Introduction to New Media

The computer games industry has rapidly matured. Once a preoccupation only of young technophiles, games are now one of the dominant forms of global popular culture. From consoles such as Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox to platforms such as iPhones and online gaming worlds, the realm of games and their scope has become all-pervasive.

The study of games is no longer a niche interest but rather an integral part of cultural and media studies. The analysis of games reveals much about contemporary social relations, online communities and media engagement.

Presenting a range of approaches and analytical tools through which to explore the role of games in everyday life, and packed with case material, Games and Gaming provides a comprehensive overview of this new media and how it permeates global culture in the twenty-first century.