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The Librarian Is In: Seidenberg Edition

News Story

We may be reaching the tail-end of summer, but there's still plenty of time to sneak in some beach reads! From the 21st century music industry revolution, to the rise of big data, the faculty at the Seidenberg School of CSIS has some engrossing reading recommendations.

Brought to us by the Mortola and Birnbaum libraries, "The Librarian Is In" seeks to answer the age-old question—what should I read next? This month, we have a number of guest recommendations from staff and faculty at Seidenberg. Here’s what you should be adding to your list!

How Music Got Free: A Story of Obsession and Invention—Stephen Witt
Recommended by: Cathy Dwyer, PhD, Associate Professor, Information Technology  

A great read that explains the story of the development of the MP3 recording standard, a complex technical feat that was made possible by careful collaboration between software developers and acoustic engineers. It also describes the growth of music piracy that completely changed the recording industries.

Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding, Using Analytics—Thomas Davenport; Jinho Kim
Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy—Cathy O'Neil
Recommended by: James Lawler, DPS, Professor, Information Technology

Both are exceptionally excellent books on the applications and even the misapplications of algorithmic big data analytics by business and governmental organizations, as impacting the privacy of people in society. The books give an overview of the increasing power of big data analytics technology that may be perceived as intrusive if not prejudicial to segments of those in a democratic society. I recommend both of the books, especially Weapons of Math Destruction, as to the overt and subtle implications of big data analytics, to my Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Processes and Technologies graduate students in the Seidenberg School who will be the future big data analytics technologists.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World—Andrea Wulf
Recommended by: Daniel Farkas, PhD, Professor, Information Technology

For a surprising, engaging, well-written biography that captures the spirit of scientific discovery as well as the story of the world’s most famous scientist of his time (the 19th century), pick up The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. Virtually unknown in the US today, you get to know Humboldt as the "Shakespeare of the Sciences;” a man who influenced Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Charles Darwin, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to name a few. 

Humboldt invented the current concept of nature as a web of life, that everything is connected from insects to trees. He was a pioneering mapmaker (one of my interests) and the “father” of environmentalism, having written of the harmful effects of deforestation, monoculture, irrigation, and human induced climate change more than 150 years ago.

Finally, if you are as taken by this story as I was, and like me you are travelling to catch the solar eclipse this summer, visit the 18th century with Wulf’s Chasing Venus. The Race to Measure the Heaven.

Do you have a book you would like the Pace Library to buy? Please send your book recommendation to Michelle Lang at