Archive for Books

Books by Peter Henderson Online

And who is Peter Henderson, you ask? The short answer is he was an owner of a very successful gardening/seed catalog business in Jersey City, the land upon which New Jersey City University now stands. During his lifetime (1822-1890), he wrote several books on horticulture and gardening; a memoir by his son Alfred, Peter Henderson, gardener, author, merchant, is also online. A very informative entry on Peter Henderson is found in Jersey City Past and Present.

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Getty Museum Publications Online

The J. Paul Getty Museum has been a major presence in the dissemination of free scholarly information in digital format; it now is making available over 250 of its publications online via the Getty Virtual Library. This collection, that will be continually expanded, offers translated volumes, symposium proceedings, as well as exhibition catalogs and the J. Paul Getty Museum Journal. Searching is by author, title, keyword, subject area and program, along with other options.

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Handbook of Latin American Studies

This essential reference tool is freely available online from the Library of Congress. “The Handbook is a bibliography on Latin America consisting of  works selected and annotated by scholars. Edited by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, the multidisciplinary Handbook alternates annually between the social sciences and the humanities. Each year, more than 130 academics from around the world choose over 5,000 works for inclusion in the Handbook.”(Web site) Volumes from 1935 on are searchable online; another version called HLAS Web allows searches from 1990 and includes an annotation with each entry. Subject areas include history, art, economics, sociology, and much more.

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History of the “Foreign Relations of the United States”

We have already mentioned this great online primary source, but this tome – Toward “Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable” – traces the development and evolution of this document repository from the mid-nineteenth century until the present. Each chapter has extensive footnoting, and the book as a whole has a great bibliography of primary and secondary sources. A good read.

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Google Books Wins Lawsuit Filed by Authors Guild

The decision by Judge Chin rules in favor of Google. The transformative nature of the enterprise and its ability to further scholarly research that up until now would have been impossible were among the deciding factors. Commentary can be found at: The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, and Publishers Weekly.

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Amazon Publishes Best Book Lists for 2013

Many categories are listed in this release, from best-selling children’s books to the best-selling books in history; each section contains 20 works listed in best-selling order. It also includes Top 100 Editors’ Picks for both print and Kindle works. It’s never too early to buy books.

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Intelligence Briefings of Presidential Candidates

This first audiobook from the CIA – Getting to Know the President: Intelligence Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-2004 - “…provides unique insights into the mechanics and content of the briefings, the interaction of the participants, and the briefings’ effect on the relationships presidents have had with their intelligence services. His observations on how and what to brief during the campaign and transition periods are essential reading for members of the community charged with that responsibility in the future and seeking to learn from the best practices of their predecessors.”

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BBC World Book Club

The BBC’s World Book Club is a monthly podcast where leading authors get to discuss their favorite book and answer questions from listeners and the studio audience. The latest episode features Neil Gaiman talking about American Gods. This program spans the world: interviews with Maya Angelou, John Grisham, Gunter Grass, and Amit Chaudhuri are some of the notables here. The program also features special presentations, such as discussions on the Great Gatsby, Great Expectations, and Pride and Prejudice. Originally a half an hour in length, each episode now lasts almost an hour. This is a delight for book lovers (you know who you are).

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Digital American Cookbooks

Want to know how to dress a turtle? Go to p.21 of this cookbook – American Cookery: Or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards, and Preserves, and All Kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plum to Plain Cake… - published in 1798 and considered the first cookbook written by an American for Americans. The collection this work comes from, Feeding America, contains reproductions of 76 historic cookbooks, each one accompanied by a short essay placing it in historical context. A glossary of cooking terms and images of old cooking implements are accessible as well. Another site of importance is from the Culinary History Collection at Virginia Tech. Over two hundred volumes are represented here; while many are historic in nature, more than a few date from the late 20th century. Also, the site is accompanied by an informative blog. Good eating!

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Looking for Book Reviews?

If you need to find book reviews on all subjects, ranging from anthropology to zoology with side trips into science fiction and mystery, then by all means stop at the Sunday Book Review from The New York Times. Containing thousands of reviews since 1981, this section does indeed give one access to critically reasoned evaluations of currently produced work. In addition, another special feature is podcasts with authors, editors, and critics on new books, bestsellers, and the literary scene. The famous best seller lists are also accessible on this site as is By the Book, an ongoing series of interviews with prominent authors. And let’s not forget the section’s profiles of hundreds of authors both past and present.

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International Summit of the Book

Late last year, the Library of Congress hosted the first International Summit of the Book. Distinguished scholars, national librarians, and publishers hosted panels on such topics as books and copyright, and the past present and future of  the book. All these panels are now available for viewing.

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Free Online Encyclopedia of Mathematics

Springer Publishers has rendered this ten-volume major encyclopedia into an open-access wiki under the auspices of the European Mathematical Society. More than thirty international mathematical scholars serve on the editorial board, ensuring the highest quality articles. Scholars are invited to either submit new articles or update articles already in the encyclopedia. As it now stands, more than 8.000 articles are online, exploring 50,000 mathematical “notions”.

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Open Access Textbooks

With the cost of required texts for college courses spiraling ever upwards, more than a few faculty are trying to reduce this onerous financial burden. Many either write or have recourse to use open access textbooks that are freely available online. OATS: Open Access Textbooks from the Iowa State University provides a portal to numerous sites where free books are available. Also, check out our library’s books section for additional links where you will find millions of volumes.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: The Foreign Relations of the United States

Covering the years from 1861, the Foreign Relations of the United States is the definitive record of this country’s dealing with other nations. Documents are culled from a wide variety of sources to present a clear picture of what occurred. The more than 450 volumes of the series are published mostly in chronological order with certain “special volumes” that revolve around a specific theme, such as Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment or the Energy Crisis, 1974-1980. By using these volumes, one can trace the diplomatic give and take that informed our foreign policy about the Arab-Israeli war, review documents pertinent to the Paris Peace Conference that ended World War 1, or peruse the material presented on the Malta and Yalta conferences that shaped postwar Europe. One of the main problems with this series is the slowness with which the volumes are produced. They are supposed to be published within a thirty-year time frame from the original date; therefore, the volumes coming out should be covering the early 1980s. Alas, that is not the case; the series is mired in the late 1960s to mid 1970s. The travails are highlighted in the 2012 annual report from the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, the body that oversees the FRUS production. The first 375 volumes (1861-1960) are housed at this site hosted by the University of Wisconsin; more recent ones are at the State Department’s Office of the Historian.

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Victorian Plays Online

There were literally hundreds of plays or dramas written and produced during the 19th century in England. The Victorian Plays Project (VPP) allows access to 350 texts of plays during that time period. One can search via author, title, year, keyword, quotes, stage directions, etc. Its catalog allows one to search through 1500 plays and provides basic information on them – theater and date of first, title and subtitle, and the playwright’s name. This project is based on the 100 volume Lacy’s acting edition of plays, dramas, farces and extravagances…. compiled by Thomas Hailes Lacy (92 of the volumes are represented here in HathiTrust.). These 92 volumes provide almost all the 1500 plays indexed in VPP, but there is no centralized index to review all these volumes; the VPP provides that service through its catalog which presents a volume by volume contents list. The VPP provides a valuable service in allowing one to search through the whole corpus of works on its site, and with that information in hand, one can then look at the 92 volumes available through HathiTrust. So, if one cannot find the full text of the play in VPP, then come to the 92 volumes online through HathiTrust and find it. The VPP offers multiple search options not available in HathiTrust; HathiTrust offers almost all the plays in full text which VPP does not.

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Best Books of the Year for 2012

Well, here we go!  Best NonFiction, Fiction, Case Books (Mysteries) of 2012 (Wall Street Journal);  Page Turners (The Economist); Best Books of 2012 (Financial Times);  Books of the Year 2012 (The Guardian); 100 Notable Books of 2012 (The New York Times);  Books of the Year 2012 (The Atlantic);   Best Books of the Year: Top 100 Picks for 2012 (Amazon); Best Books of 2012 (Barnes & Noble);  Best Books and Media of 2012 (Library Journal); Outstanding Academic Titles, 2012: Top 25 Books (Choice); Best Nonfiction of 2012 (Kirkus Reviews); Best Books 2012 (Publishers Weekly); and Top 10 of 2012 (Slate). There’s still time to go out and buy a book for someone, no matter the format. We’ll be spending our down time with OUR present (we know, we know, we’re not supposed to know) – Peter Brown’s Through the Eye of a Needle, along with several books of British naval fiction.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art Online Publications

MetPublications is the access point to the, at the time of this writing, 674 volumes of monographs, collection catalogs, and exhibition catalogs published by the Met since 1964. Almost 300 of these volumes are available in their entirety online. There are various searches available: author, title, collection, theme, keyword, etc. Every book entry includes “… a description and table of contents for almost every title, as well as information about the authors, reviews, awards, and links to related Met bibliographies by author, theme, or keyword.” One of the links that many books have is to the excellent Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History developed by the Met. And even if the book is not online, a substantial portion can be previewed through Google Books. (A link is provided in the book’s description.) This is the beginning of an ambitious project to make accessible all of its publications back to 1870. While we wait for that to transpire, the Internet Archive has online versions of hundreds of pre-1964 volumes (primarily before 1923)  available.

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Greek Museum Catalogs Online

Published under the auspices of the John S Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, the “Museums Cycle” features lavishly illustrated books centered on specific Greek archaeological  museums. Written by experts, these works allow the reader access to the cultural legacy of Greece. Among the museums examined are: Thebes, Marathon, Olympia, Delphi, and Pella. A new volume is published each year; each volume is at least 300 pages in length (the Thebes volumes is 400 pages) and is accompanied by a bibliography. As of this writing, there are a baker’s dozen available with more planned.

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Online Encyclopedia of Mathematics

Originally published in 2002, The Encycloepdia of Mathematics, is considered a primary tool for this field. Recently, a free, wiki-based  online version has been released by its publisher containing all the original articles which can be updated along with new submissions, all under the editorial auspices of the European Mathematical Society. More than 8,000 can be accessed in all the sub-fields of mathematics.

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Welcome to Amazon Publishing

Not content to be a retailer, Amazon recently announced that it will publish around 40 titles a year beginning this fall. This article – Larry Kirshbaum shares many more details on how Amazon Publishing will work – provides an excellent overview of this new venture. For those unfamiliar with Mr Kirshbaum, he is the former head of the Time Warner Book Group and one of the industry’s giants. C-SPAN has video interviews and discussions with him. More information on this development is found at: Business Week, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.

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