About John Bryans

John B. Bryans is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the book publishing divisions of Information Today, Inc. (ITI) and its sister company, Plexus Publishing, Inc. Since 1979 John has worked in book publishing as an editor, book packager, and publisher. He began his career in the world of New York mass-market publishing, specializing in historical fiction and popular nonfiction before moving into technology publishing in the late 1980s. In 1995, at Online Inc., he launched CyberAge Books—a popular line of titles for online searchers, librarians, and business information professionals. In 1998 ITI acquired CyberAge Books and John joined the ITI staff on the edge of the Pine Barrens in rural southern New Jersey. Currently, he acquires and edits books and ebooks in diverse genres including library and information science and technology, cyberculture, education and careers in the information professions, educational technology, knowledge management, networking and customer engagement, indexing, and clinical research, and—regionally for southern New Jersey—mystery and suspense, history, nature and the environment. In 2001 he acquired and published Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson, which inspired an Emmy-winning dramatic series on HBO and became the publisher's first New York Times bestseller.

Author Archive | John Bryans

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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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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The Scintillatin’ Cybrarian

I am always giddy as a schoolgirl when a new Information Today book debuts, and never more so than when the author is the remarkable Cheryl Ann Peltier-Davis — the “scintillatin’ cybrarian” of the post title.

CPD fb profile picThose of you who know Cheryl are aware of her seemingly boundless enthusiasm for social media tools and apps that can be used to innovate and improve library services and make the world a better, more interesting place.

There’s a fascinating back story here. Shortly after co-editing an award-winning book about Caribbean libraries with Shamin Renwick, Cheryl was bitten by some bug that put her into a somnambulistic state. When the fever passed and she resumed normal activity, the only discernible change in Cheryl was an obsession for learning everything she possibly could about proliferating web technologies and apps and sharing this knowledge with her peers.

Ever since that time, Cheryl (who hails from Trinidad and Tobago, btw) has been getting down in the trenches — researching and experimenting with every intriguing free tool she can get her hands on, reaching out to discover how her fellow librarians are using them, and offering practical guidance to the rest of us through her excellent books and blog posts.

But enough about the author — we know she’s phenomenal. The new book is The Cybrarian’s Web 2, and as the numeral would suggest, it’s a followup to an earlier volume that Library Journal called “essential for libraries of all types.”

The Cybrarian's Web 2

The Cybrarian’s Web 2

The new volume picks up where its predecessor left off, presenting 61 free tech tools that only a cybrarian could love (not really, but I like the phrase). If you want to get a taste of what it’s all about, download this robust sampler which includes a ToC, the foreword by David Lee King, the author’s introduction, and a chapter from the book, among other goodies.

And if you’re attending Computers in Libraries next week you can see Cheryl there (she is presenting on 5/29), congratulate her on her latest achievement, pick up The Cybrarian’s Web 2 at a great price, and have her sign it for you.

Tell her JB sent you. I don’t know if it’ll get you a better discount but it ought to be good for a knowing eye roll.


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The Day the Data Scientist Came To Town

I had the great pleasure last Tuesday of seeing one of ITI’s newest authors, Amy Affelt–she of The Accidental Data Scientist fame–when she came to New Jersey at the invitation of NJ SLA to receive the Alice Rankin Award and give a talk (they call it a “lecture”) on the topic of emerging tech trends and the role of librarians.

Amy Affelt Edison NJ 3.31.15It was a terrific afternoon and evening and Amy was extremely well-received. No surprise there. People just seem to gravitate to her. (She’s got “It,” you know.)

I knew from having met Amy at Internet Librarian in 2013 (where we first discussed a Big Data book for librarians), and later during the course of producing her book, that she is a focused, super-savvy, deadline aware (driven?)  information professional with terrific communication and writing skills. However, it wasn’t until this second meeting, which began with a delicious lunch at Harold’s Deli in Edison (not a place for vegans), that I learned how modest, even self-effacing she is.

“What if nobody shows up for my book signing?” she wanted to know.

Hah! The book signing was a resounding success and I am now pronouncing the first-time author as ready for the Bigger Time. Here’s hoping we will all be seeing much more of this wonderful writer, speaker, and librarians’ advocate in the months and years to come!

(Tip: just 3 weeks from now Amy will be appearing at the Computers in Libraries Conference. Don’t miss it.)



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