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Winter is No Time to Hibernate

By: Josie Faass, Executive Director

Here in the northeast, the days are short and cold, and the respite of a good book and a warm cup of tea is hard to resist.  But resist we must (unless it’s a book from our bookstore, then by all means, put on the kettle and tuck up). At RSF, resistance means advancing our efforts on a number of ongoing projects, even if we have to brave blizzards and black ice to get to the office.

The book digitization project has produced its first fruits: the Drake edition of Progress and Poverty is now available.  Check it out and you’ll notice a newly redesigned cover and copyright page, which may seem like small potatoes to the casual observer, but to us the move to digital formats presented a great opportunity to standardize and modernize the look and feel of our publications and we just couldn’t resist.

Our goal is to get these ideas into as many people’s hands (and heads) as possible, so anyone and everyone is welcome to download the PDF of the text, free of charge.  EBook (available now) and soft cover versions (available next week) can also be purchased in our bookstore and on Amazon for very low prices. Social Problems will be completed and ready for distribution this month, so keep an eye out for that download.  We’ll likely digitize a handful of other titles this year, so charge up those eReaders because great new content is on its way.

At the office, the scanning and organizing efforts are well underway, and amidst the corporate and project-specific documentation, some real gems have already come to light. The image included with this piece is an image of the index to a 1909 volume of New York City land value maps, found among myriad other historical materials. 

Work on the GIS map I described last month continues.  It’s a long way from completion, but I have to say, it’s pretty cool.  The plan is to have two cities – likely Philadelphia and Fredrick, MD – that users can experiment with at the initial roll out, and to add others in the future, until we’ve got at least one city or town in each of the 50 states.  

Our efforts to attract new authors to our blog are bearing fruit.  Featured in this newsletter is a write up of some wonderful research conducted by Divya Singh, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, on the unintended consequences of tax incentives in NYC.  On our website is another piece, by a longtime friend of RSF, Edward Dodson, that explains very clearly how our tax code should be revised to guarantee stable, equitable revenue streams to fund public goods and services.  

Of course, we’re still looking for new authors with new perspectives, so if you have something to say, we’d love to hear (and publish) it.  Check out the “Blog Author Information” page on our website to learn more.

And because we like it to keep it interesting (or perhaps because we make a habit of biting off more than we can chew), RSF is currently contemplating a fundamental change in our operations – a change that would take the Foundation thoroughly out of its comfort zone, but which could yield important institutional benefits in the years to come.  More to come on that, of course.

Well, I believe that’s all the RSF news that’s fit to print.  Stay warm and I’ll see you again in March!

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