If you are a Goodreads user who like to reread your favorite books, here’s some good news: Goodreads had finally added a feature to track rereading a book. This has been a highly requested feature on the site (I’ve personally requested it on several occasions).
With the new feature, you can add a separate set of start and finish dates each time you re-read a book. The rereads also now count towards Reading Challenges as well.
The new feature was announced yesterday on the site’s blog and is in the process of rolling out to all users.
To see if you have the new feature, go to the page of a book you’ve read on Goodreads, click Edit in the My Activities section and scroll to the dates read section. It will say if the rereads are enabled. To use the feature, click the Add Read Date button. (See screenshot.)
If you have been keeping track of your rereads via the “Number of Times Read” option or by using different editions to track rereads, the system will automatically add those to the section. I am going to try adding them in after the fact, since I did not track rereads because I could not enter dates.
Since I have actually missed completing more than one yearly reading challenge because I couldn’t count rereads, I am really excited to see this feature implemented. How about you?
Nothing says I love you like a new e-reader or tablet – well, for some of us anyway. 🙂 If you are one of those people or know someone who is, Amazon had put its line of e-ink readers and most of the Fire tablets on sale. Prices average $20 or more off regular list prices.
Right now you can find the following at special pricing:
Today, Barnes & Noble finally sent an email letting customers know about the defective power adapter that came with the $50 Barnes & Noble tablet. (I received my email this morning.) It seems like Barnes and Noble was waiting for the replacement adapters to be available before contacting customers
According to the email, Barnes & Noble is voluntarily recalling the charger because the casing can break when plugged in to an electrical outlet and cause an electric shock.
The recalled adapter bears the model number TPA-95A050100UU and was sold with the $50 Nook 7′ tablet with model number BNTV450.
Barnes and Noble is offering a replacement adapter and a $5 gift card upon the return of the adapter. According to the email,
If you have the power adapter that came with the NOOK Tablet 7″, you should immediately stop using the power adapter and go to https://help.barnesandnoble.com/app/tablet7_adapter_replacement to register to participate in the recall. Barnes & Noble will provide you with a free replacement adapter along with a $5 Barnes & Noble gift card upon return of the recalled adapter. In the meantime, you can charge your NOOK Tablet 7″ by using your computer and a USB cable.
If you need additional assistance, please contact Barnes & Noble at (877) 886-5025 from 8am to 11pm ET, Monday through Friday, or 9am to 11pm ET on Saturday and Sunday, or visit our website atwww.barnesandnoble.com and click on “Product Recalls” listed at the bottom of the B&N.com home page for more information.
After I registered for the recall, I was told that I would receive a UPS return shipping label in the mail. Within minutes, I received an email with a link to print the label.
According to the instructions, after I return the defective adapter to the Returns Center, a replacement power adapter will be shipped out via UPS 2-Day Delivery and a $5 gift card will be included. Note that you must enter your device’s serial number to register for the recall.
As of this writing, the Nook 7″ tablet is still listed as unavailable on the Barnes and Noble website.
When Barnes & Noble first released its new $50 NOOK tablet last November, it seemed like it could be a viable alternative to the $50 Fire tablet by Amazon. The initial promise of the cheap tablet that included Google services seemed like a product that could put Barnes & Noble back as a contender in the ereader game.
The social media noise machine explodes; conservative websites immediately paint the report as a nanny-government attack on personal freedom and masculinity; the report’s findings are hit with a flood of satirical memes, outraged Facebook posts, attack videos and click-bait fake news stories; Big Tobacco’s publicity machine begins pumping out disinformation via both popular social media and pseudoscientific predatory journals willing to print anything for a price; Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater characterizes “Smoking and Health” a “communist-inspired hoax.”
Eventually, the Johnson administration distances itself from the surgeon general’s controversial report.
Of course none of the above actually occurred. While Big Tobacco spent decades doing all that it could to muddy the waters on the health impacts of smoking, in the end scientific fact triumphed over corporate fiction.
One might ask: Would it have been possible to achieve this remarkable public health victory had today’s social media environment of fake news and information echo chambers existed in 1964?
Maybe not. As a long-time academic librarian, I have spent a good part of my career teaching college students to think critically about information. And the fact is that I watch many of them struggle with the challenges of discovering, internalizing, evaluating and applying credible information. For me, the recent spate of stories about large segments of the population falling for fake news stories was no surprise.
Making sense of information is hard, maybe increasingly so in today’s world. So what role have academic libraries played in helping people make sense of world bursting at the seams with information?
History of information literacy
Since the 19th century, academic librarians have been actively engaged in teaching students how to negotiate increasingly complex information environments.
Evidence exists of library instruction dating back to the 1820s at Harvard University. Courses on using libraries emerged at a number of colleges and universities after the Civil War. Until well into the 20th century, however, academic librarians largely gave library building tours, and their instruction was aimed at mastery of the local card catalog.
Beginning in the 1960s, academic librarians experienced a broadening of their role in instruction. This broadening was inspired by a number of factors: increases in the sheer size of academic library collections; the emergence of such technologies as microfilm, photocopiers and even classroom projection; and such educational trends as the introduction of new majors and emphasis on self-directed learning.
Rather than being limited to locating items in a given library, information literacy recognized that students needed to be equipped with skills required to identify, organize and cite information. More than that, it focused on the ability to critically evaluate the credibility and appropriateness of information sources.
Changes in a complex world
In today’s digital world, information literacy is a far more complex subject than it was when the phrase was coined. Back then, the universe of credible academic information was analog and (for better or worse) handpicked by librarians and faculty.
Students’ information hunting grounds was effectively limited to the campus library, and information literacy amounted to mastering a handful of relatively straightforward skills, such as using periodical indexes and library catalogs, understanding the difference between primary and secondary sources of information, and distinguishing between popular and scholarly books and journals.
Today, the situation is far more nuanced. And not just because of the hyperpartisan noise of social media.
Thirty or 40 years ago, a student writing a research paper on the topic of acid rain might have needed to decide whether an article from a scientific journal like Nature was a more appropriate source than an article from a popular magazine like Time.
Today’s students, however, must know how to distinguish between articles published by genuine scholarly journals and those churned out by look-alike predatory and fake journals that falsely claim to be scholarly and peer-reviewed.
This is a far trickier proposition.
Further complicating the situation is the relativism of the postmodern philosophy underpinning much of postmodern scholarly thinking. Postmodernism rejects the notion that concepts such as truth and beauty exist as absolutes that can be revealed through the work of creative “authorities” (authors, painters, composers, philosophers, etc.).
While postmodernism has had such positive effects as opening up the literary canon beyond the writings of the proverbial “dead white males,” it has simultaneously undermined the concept of authority. If, as postmodernist philosophy contends, truth is constructed rather than given, what gives anyone the right to say one source of information is credible and another is not?
In such an environment, how is a librarian or faculty member supposed to respond to a bright student who sincerely asks, “How can you say that a blog post attacking GMO food is less credible than some journal article supporting the safety of GMO food? What if the journal article’s research results were faked? Have the results been replicated? At the end of the day, aren’t facts a matter of context?”
The framework recognizes that information literacy is too nuanced to be conceived of as a treasure hunt in which information resources neatly divide into binary categories of “good” and “bad.”
Notably, the first of the framework’s six subsections is titled “Authority Is Constructed and Contextual” and calls for librarians to approach the notions of authority and credibility as dependent on the context in which the information is used rather than as absolutes.
This new approach asks students to put in the time and effort required to determine the credibility and appropriateness of each information source for the use to which they intend to put it.
For students this is far more challenging than either a) simply accepting authority without question or b) rejecting all authority as an anachronism in a post-truth world. Formally adopted in June 2016, the framework represents a way forward for information literacy.
While I approve of the direction taken by the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, I do not see it as the ultimate solution to the information literacy challenge. Real progress in information literacy will require librarians, faculty and administrators working together.
Indeed, it will require higher education, as well as secondary and primary education, to make information literacy a priority across the curriculum. Without such concerted effort, a likely outcome could be a future of election results and public policies based on whatever information – credible or not – bubbles to the top of the social media noise machine.