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

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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Praise the book and pass the kohlrabi

Nan Badgett makes a great case for the indexing life in her new book, The Accidental IndexerThat’s not to say she doesn’t point out the perils, pitfalls, and personal suitability issues that anyone should weigh before diving into a career in freelance indexing–she does, unequivocally–but after spending the last several months living and breathing this text I’m thinking my next foray in publishing might be to the Land of the Indexers.The Accidental Indexer

Certainly, with Nan’s terrific (and hot off the press) book to guide me, I couldn’t be a complete failure … right? Of course, I’d need to get my hands on one of the indexing software programs she describes, and a handful of the reference books, and maybe get some serious hands-on training at Indexing Boot Camp or during the annual ASI Conference–but I think I could do it. I think I’d even like it. Of course, there’s marketing and promotion to think about … and deadlines. Indexers are always up against deadlines. Plus they have to deal with publishers. Ugh.

So … maybe I’m not quite ready to stop editing books and start indexing them, but it’s good to know that the skill is in demand and that Nan Badgett and ASI will be there to help me along when my time comes. (Did you know that machines are not likely to replace indexers any time soon, and that search engines complement but don’t supplant indexes?)

In the meantime, if you’ve ever wondered what an indexer does, and what she has in common with a misunderstood cabbage cultivar called kohlrabi, and why an indexing career might be a great fit for you or someone you know, grab a copy of [Spoiler Alert–Table of Contents and Sample Chapter Ahead!] The Accidental Indexer. This is a really informative book that’s also fun to read.

Okay, I’ve praised the book–will someone please pass the kohlrabi already?


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Big Data Librarians Have Landed

We published a pretty special book this week – Amy Affelt’s The Accidental Data Scientist: Big Data Applications and Opportunities for Librarians and Information Professionals. I had a good feeling about this project from the start, and sure enough, before there was even a webpage or a catalog listing for the book, people were calling and emailing to ask when it was going to be available.


(I’m not sure where they heard about it, but apparently they all needed it right away.)

Well, now the book is available (at a reduced price for another week or so) and I predict it will be our most in-demand title of 2015. Hats off to Amy Affelt who did everything right – even blowing her editor’s mind by delivering her manuscript early. (Like THAT ever happens!)

Most importantly, Amy brings a perfect mix of passion and knowledge to her Big Data manifesto for librarians. She is determined to see her peers take their rightful seat at the Big Data table, plus she knows where the table is and how to get the intimidating guy in the suit to stop scowling and pull a chair out for you.

For those who want to know more, we issued a press release on Monday, and if you have some time to inspect the particulars, download the pdf sampler which includes the book’s Table of Contents,  Introduction, Chapter 1, and an author bio. (Don’t miss the bonus headshot of our photogenic “celebrity” author.)

Amy Affelt has done something important in writing this book. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do for an encore.

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For KM That Works, Start With Strategy

Stephanie Barnes and Nick Milton live and breathe Knowledge Management (KM). In fact, I’d venture to say that KM–and specifically KM strategy–is their obsession.

That’s a good thing for the rest of us, because this week–thanks to the fact that Stephanie and Nick couldn’t keep the genie in the bottle (no way, no how)–we were able to publish their outstanding book, Designing a Successful KM Strategy: A Guide for the Knowledge Management Professional.

Designing a Successful KM Strategy

Designing a Successful KM Strategy

What separates this guide from most of the KM references I’ve come across (including, frankly, several books we ourselves published) is an appealing lack of hot air. Barnes and Milton get right to the point. They don’t talk “around” the topic or offer platitudes–rather, as an extensive online sample (with ToC) shows, they present a roadmap for creating a KM strategy that’s tailored to your own organization’s unique needs.

In fact, now that I think of it, the map metaphor is an okay start, but I appreciate that this book presents the same sort of turn-by-turn directions I get from my favorite map app and the charming Aussie inside my GPS who enjoys telling me where to go.

“But…” I hear you ask, “is it dependable guidance? Is the book really going to help me with KM strategy?”

For that I’ll refer to the first review we’ve seen posted so far–from our friends at the SLA Knowledge Management Division. Reviewer Barbie E. Keiser writes, in part, that, “In 20 brief chapters, the authors advise readers how to succeed with their KM programs by building a KM strategy, step-by-detailed-step. The titles of these chapters indicate precisely what the reader can expect to find within, set forth clearly and succinctly. For those who are visual learners, the figures sprinkled throughout the book illustrate what the text describes in words. Each chapter ends with a summary and ‘next steps’ section that foreshadows what is to come in the following chapter; notes at the end of the chapter contain URLs for those who want to know more.”

Keiser concludes by saying, “Designing a successful KM strategy would be a useful addition to any knowledge manager’s reference shelf, destined for frequent and extensive consultation. In fact, I’d distribute copies to reluctant senior managers–required reading!”

For a limited time, buy the print edition for just $35.70 (with free shipping within the continental US), and avoid the $59.50 you may pay by putting it off. It’s an ebook, as well: for individuals, I recommend a direct purchase from the ITI ebookstore; for libraries and other organizations the ebook options are almost too numerous to mention.

Here’s to the success of your KM strategy!


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The Drunk, the Keys, and the Streetlamp

Scholarly Metrics Under the Microscope

More on the title of the post later…

The book I want to talk about is Scholarly Metrics Under the Microscope: From Citation Analysis to Academic Auditing, edited by Blaise Cronin and Cassidy R. Sugimoto — published by ITI this week on behalf of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T).

This remarkable new volume is the result of a superb editorial collaboration by Cronin and Sugimoto (says Bryans). Of course, having known and worked with Blaise for more than 15 years (first on a monograph, The Web of Knowledge, and for many years thereafter on ARIST) I shouldn’t be too surprised. His co-editor Cassidy, it turns out, is a force to be reckoned with in her own right. (Here we are at the recent ASIS&T meeting, in Seattle, where I was obviously smitten.)

So I’d like to say, and hope you will join me in saying, Congratulations, Blaise and Cassidy on your outstanding achievement. (From where I sit you made it look easy, which should give you both a good laugh.)

“But…?” you, Dear Reader, ask (assuming you haven’t clicked on any of the informative links yet), “What is this nearly 1000-page beast of a book all about?” From Professor Ralph Schroeder of the Oxford Internet Institute comes this useful description:

“Cronin and Sugimoto present an excellent overview of scholarly metrics in this wide-ranging collection of essays from many disciplinary and critical perspectives–both recent as well as those that have shaped the field from the start.”

Prof. Schroeder goes on to describe the book as “an indispensable volume for anyone who is concerned with measuring the impact of knowledge in today’s digital world, including scholars, publishers, information scientists, and research policymakers.”

Meantime, Julia Lane of the American Institutes for Research has opined that “Anyone interested in the current uses (and abuses) of bibliometrics should have this on her bookshelf, and it should be required reading for those who seek to use bibliometrics to evaluate research funding.”

If you’re interested in knowing more, we’ve posted an easy download featuring advance praise, the Table of Contents, the Introduction, and brief biographies of editors Cronin and Sugimoto.

(Read the Introduction if you want the story behind the blog post title.)

For a limited time, Scholarly Metrics Under the Microscope remains available at a special preorder price exclusively from the ITI bookstore: $115/copy as opposed to the $149.50 list. (ASIS&T members get an even bigger break.)

But don’t delay — the regular pricing will kick in as soon as our drunkard remembers where he put the #$%@ keys.


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