Recent Events

Not Your Usual Content

Julia Tryon and Curt Tagtmeier

Julia Tryon and Curt Tagtmeier

This session described the production of two fascinating and unusual types of content.

The Rosarium Project

Julia Tryon, Commons Librarian at Providence College, likes roses, so she started the Rosarium Project. What interests her most is what has been written about roses, and there is no lack of material; much has been written over the centuries. (The first book solely about roses appeared in 1796.) Tryon gave attendees a tour of the history of literature about roses, accompanied by beautiful photos of them. Advances in printing provided an opportunity to distribute catalogs and manuals, like this one.

Rose catalog

In 1992, the typical way for a librarian to share a subject was to compile a bibliography; the Rosarium Project is now a full-text searchable database on the web. Because of copyright considerations most of its over 900 records describe English language non-fiction materials published before 1923. Advances in technology have provided the opportunity to make information available to the world. The audience includes scholars, gardeners, and popular culturists.

Tryon used the Reader’s Guide database to find 163 items published between 1824 and 1922. A surprising number of them came from general interest magazines. The information was encoded using the Oxygen XML Editor and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines to produce XML files for the database. (An abstract of her talk with some additional details is available here.) TEI has the advantages that it is adaptable, allows for spelling standardization, and allows the addition of notes to records to add value.  A useful source for learning TEI is the TEI By Example website. Files are uploaded to the TAPAS project for validation; TAPAS is also the database host.

Not Your Usual Selfie

Curt Tagtmeier, Digital Collections Librarian, Highland Park Public Library and an author of several self-published books, discussed self publishing, a growing trend. Self Publishing is a huge market, as these numbers show.

Why Self Publish?

Although there are many titles available, the problem is finding them. People self publish because they have something to share and do not want to just put it on a blog. Here are some stereotypes about self-publishing.

Self publishing stereotypes

Self publishing presents several challenges for the author. Many platforms require authors to agree to exclusivity and will not allow them to publish on more than one site. Some libraries limit self published collections to physical books acquired by donation; however, Library Journal has established a program designed to expose books to more readers by creating state portals where readers can find the books (the library must subscribe to BiblioBoard). Other organizations are getting into the act; the Illinois Soon To Be Famous Author Project will give free promotion of a book for a year. The Daviess County Library, in Kentucky has established a comprehensive program to help authors.

Daviess County example

Self publishing challenges for libraries include content and quality control, e-books in a compatible format and how much staff time is required to catalog the books.

Tagtmeier uses Amazon’s CreateSpace system to create and publish his books. The system is very user friendly; if desired, the entire process can be done by simply filling forms on templates (available in the system), and cutting and pasting text. It will handle obtaining an ISBN, create the cover, and manage the sales and distribution process (even using the Kindle if the author wishes).

Don Hawkins


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