Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Internet and Social Media Reliability Resources

Searcher Magazine often provides link lists to their articles that reference resources. Last month they did a piece on the quality of information on the web. You can read the article online via EBSCO Megafile which carries Searcher. In the meantime, here's the article's list of links, including (under Rumor Checkers) our own FactCheck.org, at the top of the list of course.

Searcher, Magazine for Database Professionals Vol. 19, No. 5 • June 2011

















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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

American Film Scripts Online

Introducing a new addition to Penn Libraries e-resources: American Film Scripts Online. ASO contains over a thousand American movie scripts from 1903 to 2006. Many scripts carry additional detailed, fielded information on scenes and characters in the scripts. The database includes facsimile images for over half of the collection. Most of the scripts have never been published before and are available nowhere else online.

Scripts were selected by a team of film librarians and scholars. Selection factors include if the film or screenplay won a major award, if the film was critically acclaimed, or the screenplay has historical or sociological significance. The panel tried to build specific clusters based around genres such as Film Noir, Silent Movies of the 1920's, and key writers. Where possible, shooting scripts selected rather than draft scripts.

There is advanced searching capability for this relatively small database so it's easy to get around, including inside the scripts to search on words and phrases. My search on the the phrase "train robbery" turned up five scripts. You can try something more imaginative.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year

Political junkies can kick back in the Annenberg Library Reading Room with BEST EDITORIAL CARTOONS OF THE YEAR, either the most recent edition (2011) or older ones going back to 1977. The series, showcasing humorous and/or thought-provoking cartoons of the day from US newspapers, is edited by Charles Brooks, past president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and long-time cartoonist for Birmingham News. Each volume features award winning cartoons from the past year and an additional sampling of work by leading editorial cartoonists chosen for general excellence. Selections include both left and right leaning perspectives and together do a good job of recapturing the political and satirical flavor of history, as recent as 2010. Pictured here is one of my favorites in the 2011 edition appeared in The State Journal-Register July 11, 2010. It's by Chris Britt.

The call number for the series is: REF E 839.5 B45 but it's not where it's supposed to be. I have the volumes on a special in shelf in the magazine reading area to show them off. If you're confused just ask!

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

July CommQuote

Anke Birkenmaier on French radio pioneer Paul Deharme:

In principle, radio broadcasting seemed to Deharme a surrealist medium par excellence. Similar to the surrealist automatic writing, it made its audience listen to the dictate of an unknown voice; also, it allowed for instantaneous communication between audiences all over the world that resembled the quasi telepathic communication achieved by the first members of the movement in their creative sessions. How could the surrealists not be taken in by a medium that seemed to promise liberation from analytical “written” reasoning and grant access to a mass audience that had been out of reach until then? And yet, surrealist radio broadcasting would remain an experimental radio practice that aimed at being better than surrealism itself...

For Deharme, radio broadcasting’s greatest asset was precisely the fact that vision was not available to the audience. The absence, in radio-and also in the surrealist automatic writing-of physical images would lead to the creation of increasingly powerful mental images in the listener. In this way, radio was superior to film or theater. Relying on the work of French psychologist Henri Delacroix and the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, Deharme put forth the argument that pure words were in fact always associated with “inner” mental images, and that the physical production of words in combination with images in film or in theater deprived the audience of their own mental images, creating “only” sensations and impoverished after-impressions of what should be a creative act. The radio experience, in contrast, was more stimulating because its mental images were sensations at the same time.

One problem with radio broadcasting, as Deharme saw it, was the short attention pan of the listener. All of his professional know-how was invested in preventing it rom becoming a background medium. Due to the absence of physical images, the radio listener’s attention span is smaller; though the voice may seem real, the image associated with it has its origin only in the brain and is accompanied by a feeling of unreality. For that reason, music and sound effects are especially important to lend life and substance to the image-yet this liveliness should always appear to be dream-like, in a realistic yet artificial way.

The distinction between the dream-likeness of radio and the everyday reality of the istening audience was crucial to Deharme, for whom the main task of radio was to ake the listener dream, as opposed to the producer-focused surrealist idea of using dreams to extract or generate words from the inspired artists. The problem with the surrealists, according to Deharme, was that they claimed to rely not on dream images ut on the language of dreams, whose authenticity was generally to be doubted because it is extremely difficult to reproduce. The language produced during a period of half-sleep was not quite the same as the one that would originate from a dream. In short, Deharme contested the relevance of the surrealist automatic writing for a larger audience. He associated the ability to dream with the freedom to imagine alternate worlds, and did not find that surrealist poetry was effective at producing these words for the reader. This is why radio-fiction took a prominent place in Deharme’s radio heory: the listener seemed to understand it and be provoked by it more easily than by poetry.

--From Surrealism to Popular Art: Paul Deharme's Radio Theory, by Anke Birkenmaier, Modernism/modernity (volume 16, Number 2, pp357-374)

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