Mid-Flinx is a science fiction novel by American writer Alan Dean Foster. The book is the sixth chronologically in the Flinx series; as the story opens, Flinx is at loose ends, looking for quiet on a backwater world. But the local bully takes a shine to Flinx's longtime companion, an empathic and poisonous flying snake, or minidrag, insists on buying it; when the situation becomes life-threatening and his snake, flee the planet, instructing the space ship to fly into random uncharted space. The ship takes them to a undiscovered planet, covered with jungle a mile thick. Flinx exits his lander - and is nearly killed by a transparent flying creature, but something draws him on to explore this lush and beautiful world where the flowers have hidden teeth and the water may reach up and grab you. Risking death with every cautious step, he is rescued from a most ingenious botanical predator by a band of humans - descendants of a lost colony ship long forgotten. Flinx has a liaison with one of them; these humans have companions, not pets, but native creatures whose lives are bound inextricably with their particular human.
And they and the humans have some sort of peculiar empathic relationship with the planet - more with the plant life. While it does not become obvious until future novels, the empathic nature of Midworld is vital to allowing Flinx to accomplish his ultimate task. Meanwhile, Flinx's enemies are hot on his trail—no sooner is one set neutralized than another appears. Mid-Flinx title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Alan Dean Foster homepage
Flinx in Flux
Flinx in Flux is a science fiction novel by American writer Alan Dean Foster. The book is fifth chronologically in the Flinx series. Flinx finds a woman unconscious on a riverbank deep in the jungles of Alaspin where he has gone to release Pip's offspring; the woman, Clarity Held, turns out to be a research scientist last working on the inhospitable world of Longtunnel. He returns Clarity to her research station, only to encounter his old friends, the Ulru-Ujurrians, who help him psychically touch the threat that drove the ancient alien race, the Xunca, from the known universe; the book opens upon a meeting of ecological fanatics plotting against operations on Longtunnel. Lifeforms are being modified by gengineers, they intend to stop the perversion of nature; the scene switches to Alaspin. Flinx has returned to the planet to release Pip's offspring into the wild; the minidrag became pregnant in The End of the Matter. While returning to town, Flinx's empathic abilities detect someone hurt nearby.
Flinx discovers a woman, badly hurt, with bruises that suggest interrogation of some sort. He returns to town, he takes her to his hotel and she regains consciousness and reveals herself to be Clarity Held. She explains. Fanatics attempting to stop the work kidnapped her; this sparks uncertainty in Flinx, due to his past of genetic alteration by the Meliorare Society. While sleeping, people in chameleon suits attack them in the hotel. Flinx and Clarity escape and return to Alaspinport, where Flinx smuggles Clarity onto the Teacher, his personal ship in order to return her to Longtunnel. On the voyage, their relationship becomes romantic, they land on Longtunnel and Clarity begins showing Flinx around the facilities. All structures are contained in an extensive cavern system; the caverns are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna that redefine the preconceived Humanx notions of evolution and possible lifeforms. Clarity introduces Flinx to the leader of the Coldstripe compound. Flinx stays to learn more about the operation.
Clarity and Flinx begin to fall in love. Flinx attempts to push Clarity away by confiding in her that the Meliorare Society has manipulated him. During the discussion, an explosion rocks the facility; the fanatics are destroying everything in sight. Flinx and Clarity flee deeper into the cave with minimal supplies to wait out the attack. However, more explosions rock the facility, they discover that the fanatics have collapsed the tunnels. Flinx and Clarity have no choice. In the tunnels, they meet an injured thranx and help him recover enough to go with them. Flinx trips after they take an unexpected slide to another level of the caves, breaks their last light. In the darkness, Flinx detects a sentient creature in the blackness that feels nothing but peaceful intentions; the aliens turn out to identify themselves as the Sumacrea. They communicate with Flinx through complex descriptive emotions; the aliens lead them back to the Humanx settlement. Clarity and Sowelmanu reunite with their fellow scientists, Flinx discusses the ordeal with Alynasmolia Vandervort.
Clarity discloses Flinx's special abilities to Vandervort. Vandervort cautions Clarity about becoming too close to Flinx due to his unpredictable and dangerous gene modifications. Meanwhile, Flinx is asked to take wounded survivors to a nearby planet, which has better medical facilities. Clarity begins distancing herself from Flinx, he realizes she fears him. Clarity and Vandervort accompany Flinx on the journey to Gorisa. Clarity visits Vandervort only to find that Flinx and Pip have been rendered unconscious by sleeping gas and are in a container. Vandervort intends to study convinces Clarity that she has no choice but to help; as they begin to leave, fanatics arrive to return him to true normal form. A firefight ensues and Flinx's container is damaged, he begins having strange dreams. He escapes the container. While in the container, Flinx's powers have developed again, he projects intense fear into the combatants. Clarity and Flinx reunite, but the ground beneath them erupts. Several of Flinx's old friends, the Ulru-Ujurrians and ask for Flinx's assistance in understanding a new threat that could end all life.
They have discovered an alarm on Horseye that warns of impending danger. They project Flinx's consciousness across space, he finds something terrible and incomprehensible, he returns to his body and decides his mission in life is to do something about this horrible threat. He promises the Ujurrians that he will learn more about the danger, they will meet again, he extends an invitation to Clarity to accompany him on his journey to understand himself and this new threat, but she declines, needing a break. Flinx in Flux title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Alan Dean Foster homepage
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training and marketing services. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. OCLC provides bibliographic and full-text information to anyone. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest online public access catalog in the world. WorldCat has holding records from private libraries worldwide; the Open WorldCat program, launched in late 2003, exposed a subset of WorldCat records to Web users via popular Internet search and bookselling sites.
In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project, WikiD, allowing readers to add commentary and structured-field information associated with any WorldCat record. WikiD was phased out; the Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. A browser for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; until August 2009, when it was sold to Backstage Library Works, OCLC owned a preservation microfilm and digitization operation called the OCLC Preservation Service Center, with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The reference management service QuestionPoint provides libraries with tools to communicate with users; this around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries. Starting in 1971, OCLC produced catalog cards for members alongside its shared online catalog. OCLC commercially sells software, such as CONTENTdm for managing digital collections.
It offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, database subscriptions and more. OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications; these publications, including journal articles, reports and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, National Education Association Newsletter; the most recent publications are displayed first, all archived resources, starting in 1970, are available. Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding. Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
Presentations – Presentations from both guest speakers and OCLC research from conferences and other events. The presentations are organized into five categories: Conference presentations, Dewey presentations, Distinguished Seminar Series, Guest presentations, Research staff
Sentenced to Prism
Sentenced to Prism is a science fiction novel by American writer Alan Dean Foster, a stand-alone entry in his Humanx Commonwealth series of books. Like many of his books, Foster creates an extraordinary world that he tries to make unlike anything seen by his readers by creating a silicon-based planet with everything seeming to be made from crystals and reflective surfaces. Set in the Humanx Commonwealth, Prism is a unique planet because its ecosystem contains both silicon-based and carbon-based life. Evan Orgell, a management troubleshooter sent to Prism to investigate the disappearance of a research group, finds himself fighting for his survival in this strange crystalline environment after his specialized environment suit succumbs to the local elements. Leaving behind his mechanized suit, Evan is for the first time in his life exposed to a hostile environment without the protection of his suit and must rely on the unexpected help of the native sentient life to survive. With the help of a caterpillar-like creature named A Surface of Fine Azure-Tinted Reflection With Pyroxin Dendritic Inclusions he must grow to overcome his prejudices, his assumptions, his preoccupations to relearn what life, companionship and his own bodily form mean to him.
He and his new-found friends must overcome multiple treacherous acts by his own race in order to survive and thrive on the beautiful, but deadly, planet. Sentenced to Prism title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Alan Dean Foster homepage
The End of the Matter
The End of the Matter is a science fiction novel by American writer Alan Dean Foster. The book is fourth chronologically in the Flinx series; the novel takes place after Orphan Star with Flinx taking his new space ship, Teacher built by the Ulru-Ujurrians, to Alaspin, the home planet of his minidrag Pip, in search of the man who bid on him when Flinx was a child in a slave auction. He not only finds this man, Skua September, but acquires a strange new alien pet Abalamahalamatandra—Ab for short—and is pursued by an assassin squad called the Qwarm. Flinx’s friends Bran Tse-Mallory and Truzenzuzex show up looking for Ab in the hope of finding an ancient weapon, thought to be capable of stopping a rogue black hole; the End of the Matter title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Alan Dean Foster homepage
Dewey Decimal Classification
The Dewey Decimal Classification, colloquially the Dewey Decimal System, is a proprietary library classification system first published in the United States by Melvil Dewey in 1876. Described in a four-page pamphlet, it has been expanded to multiple volumes and revised through 23 major editions, the latest printed in 2011, it is available in an abridged version suitable for smaller libraries. OCLC, a non-profit cooperative that serves libraries maintains the system and licenses online access to WebDewey, a continuously updated version for catalogers; the Decimal Classification introduced the concepts of relative location and relative index which allow new books to be added to a library in their appropriate location based on subject. Libraries had given books permanent shelf locations that were related to the order of acquisition rather than topic; the classification's notation makes use of three-digit Arabic numerals for main classes, with fractional decimals allowing expansion for further detail.
Using Arabic numerals for symbols, it is flexible to the degree that numbers can be expanded in linear fashion to cover special aspects of general subjects. A library assigns a classification number that unambiguously locates a particular volume in a position relative to other books in the library, on the basis of its subject; the number makes it possible to find any book and to return it to its proper place on the library shelves. The classification system is used in 200,000 libraries in at least 135 countries. Melvil Dewey was self-declared reformer, he was a founding member of the American Library Association and can be credited with the promotion of card systems in libraries and business. He developed the ideas for his library classification system in 1873 while working at Amherst College library, he applied the classification to the books in that library, until in 1876 he had a first version of the classification. In 1876, he published the classification in pamphlet form with the title A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library.
He used the pamphlet, published in more than one version during the year, to solicit comments from other librarians. It is not known who received copies or how many commented as only one copy with comments has survived, that of Ernest Cushing Richardson, his classification system was mentioned in an article in the first issue of the Library Journal and in an article by Dewey in the Department of Education publication "Public Libraries in America" in 1876. In March 1876, he applied for, received copyright on the first edition of the index; the edition was 44 pages in length, with 2,000 index entries, was printed in 200 copies. The second edition of the Dewey Decimal system, published in 1885 with the title Decimal Classification and Relativ Index for arranging and indexing public and private libraries and for pamflets, notes, scrap books, index rerums, etc. comprised 314 pages, with 10,000 index entries. Five hundred copies were produced. Editions 3–14, published between 1888 and 1942, used a variant of this same title.
Dewey modified and expanded his system for the second edition. In an introduction to that edition Dewey states that "nearly 100 persons hav contributed criticisms and suggestions". One of the innovations of the Dewey Decimal system was that of positioning books on the shelves in relation to other books on similar topics; when the system was first introduced, most libraries in the US used fixed positioning: each book was assigned a permanent shelf position based on the book's height and date of acquisition. Library stacks were closed to all but the most privileged patrons, so shelf browsing was not considered of importance; the use of the Dewey Decimal system increased during the early 20th century as librarians were convinced of the advantages of relative positioning and of open shelf access for patrons. New editions were readied as supplies of published editions were exhausted though some editions provided little change from the previous, as they were needed to fulfill demand. In the next decade, three editions followed on: the 3rd, 4th, 5th.
Editions 6 through 11 were published from 1899 to 1922. The 6th edition was published in a record 7,600 copies, although subsequent editions were much lower. During this time, the size of the volume grew, edition 12 swelled to 1243 pages, an increase of 25% over the previous edition. In response to the needs of smaller libraries which were finding the expanded classification schedules difficult to use, in 1894, the first abridged edition of the Dewey Decimal system was produced; the abridged edition parallels the full edition, has been developed for most full editions since that date. By popular request, in 1930, the Library of Congress began to print Dewey Classification numbers on nearly all of its cards, thus making the system available to all libraries making use of the Library of Congress card sets. Dewey's was not the only library classification available. Charles Ammi Cutter published the Expansive Classification in 1882, with initial encouragement from Melvil Dewey. Cutter's system was not adopted by many libraries, with one major exception: it was used as the basis for the Library of Congress Classification system.
In 1895, the International Institute of Bibliography, located in Belgium and led by Paul Otlet, contacted Dewey about the possibility of translating the classification into French, using the classification system for bibliographies. This would have
Extraterrestrial life called alien life, is life that occurs outside of Earth and that did not originate from Earth. These hypothetical life forms may range from simple prokaryotes to beings with civilizations far more advanced than humanity; the Drake equation speculates about the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. The science of extraterrestrial life in all its forms is known as exobiology. Since the mid-20th century, there has been an ongoing search for signs of extraterrestrial life; this encompasses a search for current and historic extraterrestrial life, a narrower search for extraterrestrial intelligent life. Depending on the category of search, methods range from the analysis of telescope and specimen data to radios used to detect and send communication signals; the concept of extraterrestrial life, extraterrestrial intelligence, has had a major cultural impact, chiefly in works of science fiction. Over the years, science fiction communicated scientific ideas, imagined a wide range of possibilities, influenced public interest in and perspectives of extraterrestrial life.
One shared space is the debate over the wisdom of attempting communication with extraterrestrial intelligence. Some encourage aggressive methods to try for contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life. Others—citing the tendency of technologically advanced human societies to enslave or wipe out less advanced societies—argue that it may be dangerous to call attention to Earth. Alien life, such as microorganisms, has been hypothesized to exist in the Solar System and throughout the universe; this hypothesis relies on consistent physical laws of the observable universe. According to this argument, made by scientists such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, as well as well-regarded thinkers such as Winston Churchill, it would be improbable for life not to exist somewhere other than Earth; this argument is embodied in the Copernican principle, which states that Earth does not occupy a unique position in the Universe, the mediocrity principle, which states that there is nothing special about life on Earth.
The chemistry of life may have begun shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, during a habitable epoch when the universe was only 10–17 million years old. Life may have emerged independently at many places throughout the universe. Alternatively, life may have formed less then spread—by meteoroids, for example—between habitable planets in a process called panspermia. In any case, complex organic molecules may have formed in the protoplanetary disk of dust grains surrounding the Sun before the formation of Earth. According to these studies, this process may occur outside Earth on several planets and moons of the Solar System and on planets of other stars. Since the 1950s, scientists have proposed that "habitable zones" around stars are the most places to find life. Numerous discoveries in such zones since 2007 have generated numerical estimates of Earth-like planets —in terms of composition—of many billions; as of 2013, only a few planets have been discovered in these zones. Nonetheless, on 4 November 2013, astronomers reported, based on Kepler space mission data, that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs in the Milky Way, 11 billion of which may be orbiting Sun-like stars.
The nearest such planet may be 12 light-years away, according to the scientists. Astrobiologists have considered a "follow the energy" view of potential habitats. A study published in 2017 suggests that due to how complexity evolved in species on Earth, the level of predictability for alien evolution elsewhere would make them look similar to life on our planet. One of the study authors, Sam Levin, notes "Like humans, we predict that they are made-up of a hierarchy of entities, which all cooperate to produce an alien. At each level of the organism there will be mechanisms in place to eliminate conflict, maintain cooperation, keep the organism functioning. We can offer some examples of what these mechanisms will be." There is research in assessing the capacity of life for developing intelligence. It has been suggested that this capacity arises with the number of potential niches a planet contains, that the complexity of life itself is reflected in the information density of planetary environments, which in turn can be computed from its niches.
Biologist David Zeigler has argued that, based on evolutionary convergence from many different ancestral groups on Earth, a worm form is a life form on other life-bearing planets. Life on Earth requires water as a solvent in place. Sufficient quantities of carbon and other elements, along with water, might enable the formation of living organisms on terrestrial planets with a chemical make-up and temperature range similar to that of Earth. More life based on ammonia has been suggested, though this solvent appears less suitable than water, it is conceivable that there are forms of life whose solvent is a liquid hydrocarbon, such as methane, ethane or propane. About 29 chemical elements play an active positive role in living organisms on Earth. About 95% of living matter is built upon only six elements: carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur; these six elements form the basic building blocks of all life on Earth, whereas most of the remaining elements are found only in trace amounts. The unique characteristics of carbon make it unlikely that it could be replaced on another planet, to generate the biochemistry necessary for life.
The carbon atom has the unique ability to make four strong chemical