Daily Archives: 6 April 2008

Alex Bellinger interviews me for SmallBizPod

SmallBizPodAs I mentioned in my previous blog post on our first Facebook event at the Business & IP Centre, Alex Bellinger the founder of SmallBizPod was there with his microphone. His podcast based on interviews at this event were delayed a little by Alastair Darling and his 2008 Budget, but have now gone up on the site here.

Alex BellingerAlthough I felt I rambled on a bit, Alex seems to have kept most of the interview in the final edit. It is a mixture of chat about the Business & IP Centre and the role of Facebook and blogs to promote it to a new audience.

The show also included a cross section of interviews with some of the 50 or so members of our Facebook group who showed up on the evening. Talking of which, I see our membership has now grown to nearly 1,400 members.

Promoting new books with video

It would seem that for some publishers the future of book promotion lies in video.

Steffi McBrideSo much for the film or TV series of the book, how about the dramatised promotional video of the book that has yet to be printed.

You can judge for youself by ‘viewing’ the forthcoming title from Blake Publishing. The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride is the memoir of a fictional young soap star who becomes a national icon to be published in September 2008.

“All Steffi’s dreams come true when she lands a starring part in the country’s biggest soap opera, has a number one Christmas single and wins a Bafta. The whole country falls in love with her, including the pop star she had a crush on all through her teenage years. But someone out there knows a secret about Steffi’s past and heartless media revelations blow apart everything she ever believed to be true about her family and about herself.”

It’s not quite my cup of tea, but I’m sure they have done their market research.

The British Library Basements

Easter is the busiest time of the year at the British Library (so be warned if you are expecting a quiet space to do your research). In order to help cope with the volume of requests for books from our capacious basements in St Pancras, staff volunteers are requested.

As a member of staff who rarely visits the basements this is an opportunity not to be missed. After all, the basements are the very foundation of the library, from both a physical and information perspective. The four double height basements containing the bulk of the library’s 15 million books stretch down to 75ft or 23m below ground level. The construction of these required digging the deepest hole ever seen in London. I could hear the nearby sounds of trains on the Northern and Victoria Lines when I was in basement 3.

I spent a fascinating couple of hours re-shelving books in the humanities modern section. However, my trolley contained a random selection of topics giving a revealing glimpse into the subjects being researched above ground, as well as the incredible breadth of knowledge stored below ground.

automatic_crate_conveyor_systemOne fact that often surprises visitors to the basements is that the books are not stored according to any classification system. Although the British Library has adopted the Dewey system in the Reading Rooms, this would not work in the basements. The explanation is simple enough – the sheer volume of new books (6 miles or 13 kilometres) each year means that they have to be added onto the end of the previous set in acquisition order. Any other would require constant shifting of the book stock to make room.

So, for instance if they were in alphabetical order by Title, the Z’s would slot nicely in at the end of the sequence but any new A’s would require moving the whole lot. This results in some vary odd pairings of books on the shelves. I re-shelved a book on Islamic terrorism literally cheek by jowl with a volume on right-wing Jewish politics.

The photos above come from a website Subterranea Britannica which has a detailed article on a visit to the basements.