Author Michael Gruenberg at Computers in Libraries 2016

CIL 2016 is over and I’m finally getting around to posting some video interviews with some of our authors. Here is Mike Gruenberg, author of Buying and Selling Information and why it’s important to learn how to negotiate with vendors. Special thanks to Marydee Ojala for helping with the interview.


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JWB restored

Planning to Retouch, Repair or Manipulate Digital Images?

Ernest Perez has a terrific new book out that describes the best of easy-to-use, free, and inexpensive apps for retouching, restoring, and manipulating digital images. Perez’s goal in writing Digital Photo Magic was to save time and money for librarians, teachers, archivists, and others who find they have some image clean-up or “repair” ahead of them en route to creating digital collections, exhibits, or publications.

Early feedback suggests he has succeeded, and then some.

Digital Photo Magic

Perez–a former library director at the Houston Chronicle and Chicago Sun-Times and a frequent contributor to the library literature–begins with a useful overview of the current situation as regards digital photo resources and retouching technologies. He goes on to explain why librarians, archivists, museum curators, and educators care about such matters–or should.

The longtime news librarian and passionate amateur photographer speaks to the challenges faced by organizations that operate on tight budgets and with limited human resources, yet still need to do credible (often public-facing) work with digital images. He offers a primer on “Digital Image Details” in Chapter 2–available as a sneak peek here.

Perez’s confident and enthusiastic approach makes you want to dive right in and start using his “digital photo magic” (DPM) system right away. There are hundreds of remarkable free and low-cost tools out there and, in most cases, little or no previous experience is needed to use them effectively. Perez points you to his favorites and lets you know what they do best.

JWB restored

Not author Ernest Perez, but John Wilkes Booth as restored using DPM. (The book reveals the step-by-step process.)

What I think of as the heart of the book are the dozens of step-by-step tutorials and before-and-after shots (many from the author’s personal collection of family snapshots, along with numerous historic images). But Perez doesn’t stop there as he makes what some might consider “grunt work” fun and easy.

I think I know what Ernest Perez is doing right now: he’s at his computer, tinkering with some online program he just learned about, mastering new techniques for restoring old photos, retouching friends’ social headshots, removing entire objects (and people) from landscape scenes, and adding dramatic graphic touches to free his inner artist. Already a digital photo magician, he wants you to be one, too–that’s why he wrote the book, and it’s why he’s going to keep things fresh on the DPM website.

Digital Photo Magic is widely available as an ebook, including direct from the ITI ebookstore, but I must admit I love the way it turned out in print. Hey, your humble editor put some time in on this one–I’m dying to know what you think!



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She never forgot it was ours

There’s a mind-boggling amount of publicly funded information out there — much of it useful, and most of it collected, organized, and made available by our government and its corps of dedicated information professionals. Yet most people don’t even stop to think about it, let Public-Knowledgealone take advantage.

An opportunity to work with the late Miriam “Mimi” Drake and her co-editor Don Hawkins on Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits brought the topic home. This is a timely and useful new book that, among other things, reminds us that all this information is ours. I could say more about the book but I’d rather use this space to talk about Mimi. She was a special person who disarmed me, memorably, with kindness, curiosity, and laughter the first time we met.

Within days of receiving the worst news a person can get, Mimi called to calmly explain the situation and express her determination that the book would be published with or without her. Her commitment and vision was an inspiration to me and Don Hawkins, to whom we (smartly) turned in our hour of need. Public Knowledge reflects Mimi’s lifelong passion for connecting people with information and I feel honored to have helped get it done.

It’s a shame Mimi did not live to see the book published, but I’m grateful we have it to remember her by. She was the best.

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book tree

Wishing You Peace and Happiness

To all our friends, everywhere around the world … to those we know and those we hope to meet … we send warm thoughts and wishes for the holiday season and throughout the New Year!

book tree

Design and photo of the book tree by Shelley Szajner

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