Proof of public libraries’ importance from a new study quantifying value of the Toronto Public Library (found on Stephen’s Lighthouse).

Conducted by the Martin Prosperity Institute, this is the first study of its kind in Canada … Key findings include:

  • The total economic impact of the Toronto Public Library on the city of Toronto is $1 billion.
  • For every dollar invested in Toronto Public Library, Torontonians receive $5.63 of value.
  • For those who use the library, the average value of services accessed is as much as $500.
  • On average, one open hour at any one of the library’s 98 branches generates $2,515 in benefits for the city of Toronto. The average cost of one open hour is $653, so the average benefit is almost 4 times the average cost.
  • Beyond tangible benefits outlined in the report, the library delivers value to Toronto’s communities and residents in ways that are not easily quantifiable but nonetheless support Toronto’s economy, increase its competitiveness and prosperity and contribute to the city’s livability and quality of life.

The Martin Prosperity Institute is part of the University of Toronto’s Rotman Business School.  Read the full report here.
From “Current Cites October 2013“, check out this article recommended by Nancy Nyland:

Simonite, Tom. “The Decline of Wikipedia”  MIT Technology Review  116(6)(November/December 2013)(http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/520446/the-decline-of-wikipedia/).
– The title could have been “The Rise And Fall,” since the article summarizes the history of Wikipedia’s successes and problems, allowing readers who only check in occasionally on Wikipedia’s status to catch up quickly.

The British Library has uploaded one million images from 17th-19th century books to their Flickr account for public use and remixing, as reported by CBC.
Want another tool for searching newspapers?  Read this earlier Web Search Guide and Internet News post about the Google News archive.
Interested in digitizing and archiving?  Here’s another article blurb from Current Cites (December 2013, by Roy Tennant).

Miller, Larisa K. “All Text Considered: A Perspective on Mass Digitizing and Archival Processing” The American Archivist 76(2)(Fall/Winter 2013): 521-541.  (http://archivists.metapress.com/content/6q005254035w2076/).
– Archival processing has long been a procedure where holdings are described at a collection level with a “finding aid” of varying depth and detail, depending on the collection and the time available for processing. “This article,” Miller states in the abstract, “explores the idea of coupling robust collection-level descriptions to mass digitization and optical character recognition to provide full-text search of unprocessed and backlogged modern collections, bypassing archival processing and the creation of finding aids.” This is no small claim, as following this path would stand present archival practice on its head. Rather than describing the collection in summary form and perhaps digitizing some representative samples, Miller suggests allowing the digitized collection to reveal itself. Not being an archivist myself, I won’t presume to predict how the archival community will react to such an idea, but the reaction of the users of such collections would almost certainly be “Right on!”.

Personally, I like how it sounds simpler to add materials but have seen lots of imperfect OCR in my time. What do you think?
Transferable skills job alert: using your info management skills to create book indexes.  Library Juice Academy interviewed  Joanne Sprott, freelance indexer and instructor of their indexing class.
As a new semester begins, you may like these Chrome browser extensions for students from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, as well as Web Search Guide and Internet News.  Please comment if you’ve tried any of them; are they helpful?
Reports of libraries’ death have been exaggerated… at least according to this infographic based on ALA data (found on Stephen’s Lighthouse):


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