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Monday, October 22, 2012

John Riley (Busca, Inc.) Interview with the GIST Team

Gifts and Deselection Manager for the August 2012 Issue of Against the Grain

the GIST Team: Tim Bowersox, Cyril Oberlander, Kate Pitcher, Mark Sullivan.

Your Gifts and Deselection Manager (GDM) is a truly revolutionary tool that allows libraries to easily handle the weeding process with full assurance that they are not removing items that are vital to the library. Tell us how you developed this part of the GIST package and why you decided to create it.

GDM’s collection evaluation tool was developed to help library staff save time through a thoughtful workflow based on criteria that would otherwise take them a great deal of time to compile. This was based upon our own experience in 2009, where It took us the entire summer to evaluate the reference collection because we had to manually search Hathi Trust, Google Books, Worldcat holdings, etc.  With additional major weeding projects on the horizon, we sought to convert this workflow into an automatic and batch process.

Fortunately, many of the services we consulted had APIs so we could automatically retrieve the exact same data we needed in seconds, rather than minutes. By incorporating a batch analysis tool, we could run an entire list of ISBNs and OCLC numbers in a fraction of the time it would take staff to manually check the same items. In addition, the GDM has a weighted and fully customizable collection building profile (based upon the OCLC Conspectus) that provides a recommendation for each and every item. The result was a list of titles, criteria, and recommendations to keep or deselect each item.

When we looked at how many other libraries are rethinking or refreshing their collection, the order of magnitude seemed like it would cost libraries too much time needed for developing new services.  In order for libraries to do other things, the manual collection analysis for moving collections to storage, weeding, digitizing, etc. all had to become automated.  GDM helps us focus on the next priorities, such as digital scholarship, publishing services, project management, and instructional design services.  We hope other libraries can save their staff time and devote much needed talent and time to developing innovative library services -- the local and network value of shared benefits is tremendous.

What are API’s? Who do you use them with? Are they easy to set up?

Application programming interface (API’s) are specifications that allow software to communicate with each other, in other words, GIST GDM uses OCLC’s API to utilize bibliographic and holdings data, and APIs from Amazon, Better World Books, Google Books, and Hathi Trust to evaluate other data about the books.  GIST GDM makes using APIs very easy, just follow the documentation, it guides you to the site to obtain unique keys to access the data sources.

One function of the Gift Manager that I think is particularly useful is the “acknowledgement letter generator.” We all know that dealing with donors is one of the reasons that gifts are sometimes discouraged. Your system allows the donor to itemize each donation and use it for receiving an outside appraisal for tax purposes. I think that this will encourage more gifts especially since donors can now self itemize up to $5,000 in value of their donation according to IRS regulations. How have donors responded to this development?

Donors appreciate a thank you letter, and as long as it is an automated process, library staff should too.  GIST GDM’s donor letters only supplies required data; donor name, address, title, author, format (Hardcover, etc.) and total number donated so that donors have an easier time filling out their taxes, it does not however supply the value of the specific items.

How do libraries deal with the differences in data between their catalogue and other libraries’ catalogues when using GDM?

GIST GDM uses Worldcat for the holdings and bibliographic record, while the Z39.50 link to your own catalog is a way to evaluate what edition and location your catalog has for the item.  Some libraries may want to use their consortia catalog to compare holdings within GDM.

Could you list the websites that interested libraries should consult to find out more about GIST and GDM initiatives? When is your next GIST users meeting?

Easiest way to find out who is using GIST in your neighborhood is to join the GIST-L listserv and ask by state, etc.  However, at the next IDS Conference – summer 2013, there will be an exciting GIST Institute, so stay tuned at:

The Gifts Management portion of GDM makes receiving gifts a viable enterprise again. Many libraries have stopped accepting gifts because of the expense and amount of work involved. GDM streamlines the process and even earns the library some money along the way. You have been able to add quite a few books to your collection as well. Could you tell us how and why this part of the GDM was developed?  Were you turning down gifts before its development?

Gift workflow management was the first component built with GIST GDM because there was no product out there that we knew of to help us streamline the workflow, and because we wanted to save time and effort spent on processing gifts.  How do we make the process more streamlined with our collection building profile and cooperative collection development criteria in mind?  The solution took almost one year to develop, and Mark Sullivan wrote, tested, and re-wrote the 20K+ lines of code to make it all happen.  We also wanted to thoughtfully develop our print collections at a time where many libraries are cutting back their print monograph acquisitions.  Before GIST GDM, our practice of receiving gifts was slow and not encouraged. Since GIST GDM, however, we have placed donation boxes near the entrance of the library and another location on campus, and have promoted donations to faculty and students.  In the start of using GIST GDM, we received 4,324 items in 13 months, and acquired only 16% or 713 items that were valued at $49K in Amazon.  The items not acquired were sent to Better World Books, and any revenue generated from sales went into building new collections.

You developed GDM from the ground up and you are now offering it as a free & open source program. How easy is it for other libraries to implement GDM? Do they have to belong to the GIST community to use it?

Because GIST GDM is a standalone application that is easily downloaded, it is relatively easy for libraries to implement.  The most common issues with installation are due to skipping parts of the implementation instructions, miscopying API keys into the GDM Settings, or trying to run GDM on unsupported systems (Windows XP, typically).  For the most part, Mark has worked with these libraries one on one. However, we created the GIST-L listserv to help the community of GIST libraries share experiences, discuss questions, etc. Users can also email us at with questions or suggestions.

GDM fits in with your vision of the library as a constantly evolving and self-directed resource for the university. You have decided to not just sit back and wait for change to happen, you are embracing and making change happen. I think this library is a great model for others to emulate. Could you tell us a little about your philosophy as it relates to building a sustainable library for now and the future?

Our philosophy is to work with our colleagues and vendors to develop the solutions needed to transform libraries. We also look for problems with scale -- if it saves us 1,000 hours of work a year, imagine the collective impact this has on the roughly 200 other libraries currently using it. Not only does this help us all build and maintain better collections, but it also helps us focus on developing future library services. With so many libraries turning their attention to the topics of value and assessment, we simply can’t afford to carry on business as usual. Though change can be daunting, it’s much easier to get through if we all work together.

Could you list the websites that interested libraries should consult to find out more about GIST and GDM initiatives? When is your next GIST users meeting?

Easiest way to find out who is using GIST in your neighborhood is to join the GIST-L listserv and ask by state, etc.  However, at the next IDS Conference – summer 2013, there will be an exciting GIST Institute, so stay tuned at:

Friday, October 12, 2012

The 3000 Year Old Bookseller

A skit from the upcoming Charleston Acquisitions Conference written by John Riley of Busca, Inc.

This week it was reported that a 3000 year old bookseller has been found in the city of Charleston, South Carolina. He was celebrating his birthday with some other antiquarian booksellers at the Charleston Conference and the local paper picked up on it. The story has now gone viral so we sent our crack bookshop reporters to cover this breaking story. We now go Live to the Conference.
Reporter: You certainly give “antiquarian bookseller” new significance. You must have lots of valuable advice to share after all of these years.

Steve:  Is that supposed to be funny? I don’t get it.
Reporter: You’re old and books that are old are called antiquarian. I was just joking.
Steve:  I’m no antique. I’m as fit as a fiddle just like back in Byblos where I opened my first shop. Back then papyrus was coming on strong. All the other dealers were closing because clay tablets were going out of style in the publishing world. I saw the opportunity and I started selling papyrus books. I called my books papyrusbacks.  People loved’em. Pretty soon I had shops all over: Alexandria, Antioch,  Jerusalem.
Reporter: What was the name of your shop?
Steve:  It was called Steve’s Papyrusbookshop. It was kind of hard to say in Aramaic, but in Greek it just rolled off your lips. In Egypt I simply hung out a picture of a plant and a scroll. They could understand that. In fact The Library at Alexandria was my best customer: they wanted everything and I mean everything. The only problem I had with them is that when I used to go there every year for the Mediterranean Library Convention that guy Ptolemy Soter wanted to copy all my books and then give them back to me. Whaaaa?… he’s never heard of copyright? He just mumbled something about being the Sun God and he could do whatever he wanted. Well I told him I knew Pharaoh and he was no Pharaoh. Pharaoh used to pay for his books, especially his kid, Tut. He wanted to be immortal and what better way than with books! I warned the librarian there, Callimachus, that there was a fire danger storing all those scrolls on wooden shelves. I offered to get my cousin, he’s in window treatments, to fire proof the place, but the librarian couldn’t get funding. Some things never change.
Reporter: Who did you know back then?
Steve: Well, I did know Aristotle…personally….very good customer. Wanted  a little bit of everything. Very omnivorous. Not like Plato.  Plato just wanted a lot of the stuff I was bringing in from India.  Socrates I tried to sell some self help books to one time. He shouted at me that books were destroying culture. He said nobody knew how to think for themselves or memorize or speak in public. He hated books. Sheesh ….he sounded like Homer, always with the memorizing.
Reporter: What were some of the bestsellers back then?
Steve: Some of our bestsellers at that point in time were Buddha and Confucius. Meditation was popular in the desert, since there wasn’t much else to do. Yoga was just starting to catch on too. Kama Sutra was good under the counter stuff. The I-Ching was selling well to some of the Hippies, we called them Essenes.  They reminded me of San Francisco in the 60’s…I mean 1960’s…not 60’s.
Reporter: What were some of the biggest changes you have seen in the book world in your 3000 years?
Steve: Amazon and e-books, without a doubt.
Reporter:  3000 years ago they had those?
Steve: Yes. Very troubling to the book business both of them. Some Amazons in Lydia started a mail order business. You could send pigeon orders to them and they’d get you back a book in a couple of days no postage. Their pigeons ate very very little. It was hard for me to compete against that and their turnaround time on special orders sure beat the fast barge from Antioch. Then there was Pontius Pilate… always with the upping  sales tax on inventory. The Amazons got off with free freight and no tax. No unions either.
Reporter: What about e-books?
Steve: Very troubling as well. For years we went along quite happily with no vowels. Then some wisenheimer came up with sticking e’s in between consonants. It wrecked my whole inventory. I had to sell everything off in my remainder tent that sat out behind my main tent. But only old guys still wanted the stuff. The kids had moved on to what they called e-books.
Reporter: Well, thank you Steve for this interview. It was good to get a firsthand account of the last 3000 years. We all wish you another 3000 years in the book business.
Steve: Book business? If but I can last another 3 months I’ll plotz.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wiley Fall 2012 Polity

Derrida: A Biography

by Benoit Peeters
9780745656151, 0745656153
$35.00/£25.00 UK
Philosophy / History & Surveys Polity
700 pages
Status: Forthcoming

Title Summary

This biography of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) tells the story of a Jewish boy from Algiers, excluded from school at the age of twelve, who went on to become the most widely translated French philosopher in the world – a vulnerable, tormented man who, throughout his life, continued to see himself as unwelcome in the French university system. We are plunged into the different worlds in which Derrida lived and worked: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the école Normale Supérieure, the cluster of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent events of 1968 and after. We meet the remarkable series of leading writers and philosophers with whom Derrida struck up a friendship: Louis Althusser, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Genet, and Hélène Cixous, among others. We also witness an equally long series of often brutal polemics fought over crucial issues with thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, John R. Searle, and Jürgen Habermas, as well as several controversies that went far beyond academia, the best known of which concerned Heidegger and Paul de Man. We follow a series of courageous political commitments in support of Nelson Mandela, illegal immigrants, and gay marriage. And we watch as a concept – deconstruction – takes wing and exerts an extraordinary influence way beyond the philosophical world, on literary studies, architecture, law, theology, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonial studies.

In writing this compelling and authoritative biography, Benoît Peeters talked to over a hundred individuals who knew and worked with Derrida. He is also the first person to make use of the huge personal archive built up by Derrida throughout his life and of his extensive correspondence. Peeters’ book gives us a new and deeper understanding of the man who will perhaps be seen as the major philosopher of the second half of the twentieth century.


Benoît Peeters was born in Paris in 1956. Following a degree in Philosophy at the Sorbonne (Paris I), he went on to study for his Masters at the école Pratique des Hautes études under the direction of Roland Barthes. He has since published over forty works on a wide variety of subjects and has written essays and biographies on Hergé, Alfred Hitchcock, and Paul Valéry.


‘A real tour de force. Assimilating a vast amount of material – Derrida’s own voluminous publications, unpublished documents and correspondence, and conversations with a host of acquaintances – Benoît Peeters has produced a compelling narrative that sheds light on all aspects of Derrida’s remarkable career.’
Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

‘In addressing a philosopher of the importance of Jacques Derrida, whose massive output – about 60 volumes, not including his as yet unpublished seminars – has been translated and debated the world over, Benoît Peeters has quite rightly chosen not the origins or content of the work itself, but the life of the man behind it. In short, he has written an excellent biography entirely in keeping with Anglo-Saxon traditions.’
Elisabeth Roudinesco, The Guardian

The Crisis of the European Union: A Response

by Jurgen Habermas
9780745662428, 0745662420
$19.95/$23.95 Can./£16.99 UK
Political Science / General Polity
120 pages
146.100 mm W | 223.500 mm H | 19.099 mm T 5.75in W | 8.80in H | 0.75in T

Title Summary

Translated by Ciaran Cronin.
In the midst of the current crisis that is threatening to derail the historical project of European unification, Jürgen Habermas has been one of the most perceptive critics of the ineffectual and evasive responses to the global financial crisis, especially by the German political class. This extended essay on the constitution for Europe represents Habermas’s constructive engagement with the European project at a time when the crisis of the eurozone is threatening the very existence of the European Union. There is a growing realization that the European treaty needs to be revised in order to deal with the structural defects of monetary union, but a clear perspective for the future is missing. Drawing on his analysis of European unification as a process in which international treaties have progressively taken on features of a democratic constitution, Habermas explains why the current proposals to transform the system of European governance into one of executive federalism is a mistake. His central argument is that the European project must realize its democratic potential by evolving from an international into a cosmopolitan community. The opening essay on the role played by the concept of human dignity in the genealogy of human rights in the modern era throws further important light on the philosophical foundations of Habermas’s theory of how democratic political institutions can be extended beyond the level of nation-states.

Now that the question of Europe and its future is once again at the centre of public debate, this important intervention by one of the greatest thinkers of our time will be of interest to a wide readership.


Jürgen Habermas is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt and one of the most influential social and political thinkers in the world today.


"One of Europe's most prominent intellectuals, a social political theorist of the highest standing. In pinpointing the lack of democratic participation, he builds a case that Europe's leaders will sooner or later have to answer."
Financial Times

"The Crisis' demand for a politicised and democratised Europe is a welcome tonic to an event currently marked by its lack of vision."
Fabian Review

"We should rejoice that a philosopher like Habermas is not giving up, but calling the European elite to order. He sees an opportunity in the crisis. 'With a little backbone the crisis of the single currency can bring about what some once hoped for from a common European foreign policy, namely a cross-border awareness of a shared European destiny.'"
Global Journal

"One of the most famous living philosophers."
Radical Philosophy
"There is something refreshingly honest about Jurgen Habermas's take on the European Union."
Irish Times

"For at least a generation Jurgen Habermas's work has made a significant impact on a variety of important debates in philosophy and the social sciences."
Political Studies

"No-one articulates the 'European' ideal with greater intellectual clarity, philosophical acumen and humanist fervour than Jürgen Habermas."
Muslim World

For these and many more fine titles from Wiley, contact Busca's expert staff.  We can find what you need.  Busca means search.

Nuevo libro de / New Book by: Myriam Morell


Miriam Morell (Puerto Padre, Cuba), ha publicado seis novelas: Las palmas son novias que esperan (1987), El fulgor de las estrellas (1991), El Ocujal (1995), Agar, la fugitiva (2001), Desnuda y al galope (2008) y Abisag (2011). También es autora de las colecciones de poemas musicalizados: Rocío (1994), Los girasoles (1995), y Alma de mármol alada (2000).

Miriam Morell (Puerto Padre, Cuba) has published six novels and a collection of poetry books.


El recuerdo de la narración más antigua del mundo se hizo pensamiento, al imponer freno, en el vigor y el entusiasmo de una juventud, que no fue indiferente al proyecto humano. Esta historia es un sentimiento, una pasión, que nació en una carta enviada desde la Tierra, única entidad del Universo, a un amigo en el exilio; para tratar de captar la existencia y hacerla energía y que los jóvenes alumnos alcancen la fuerza vital de su conciencia, al relacionar su ser con ellos mismos, y forjar así el alma de su tiempo.

The memory of the world's oldest account was, along with the vigor and enthusiasm of youth, was not indifferent to the human project. This story is a feeling, a passion that was born in a letter sent from Earth, the only entity in the universe, to a friend in exile, to try to capture the energy and make it available to young people and students to achieve his conscience. by relating his being with them, and thus forge the soul.

SERIES (COLECCIÓN): Colección Caniquí
EDITION (EDICIÓN): First edition (primera edición)
ISBN-10: 1-59388-236-X / ISBN-13: 978-1-59388-236-5
PRICE (PRECIO):$ 19.95

For more information, contact Busca's expert staff today.