Reviewing CD Masters for New Product & Cataloging Copies…07.31.08

31 07 2008

As manager of product development projects in addition to regular library duties, I must actually listen to/watch CD and DVD masters and approve them for duplication/replication.  This, of course, takes hours and hours.  While doing so, dub-masters must be cataloged and archived for future reference and use. 

Today I started reviewing and cataloging 20 CD masters (at least 20 hours wearing headphones) for a new product while simultaneously editing copy on a print publication we are going to update and reprint.  In between, I am answering reference questions from staff and preparing for a meeting with management for art approvals for a CD and DVD project.  I am hoping to find time today to also get back to cataloging some 3-D realia that was started yesterday.





Repeat WebJunction Webinar “Creating a Culture of Learning in the Library”…07.31.08

31 07 2008

Taken from the Library Professional Development blog:

Lori Reed’s June Learning Webinar presentation was so well-received that WebJunction asked her back for a repeat performance.

Cultivating a Culture of Learning in the Library
When: Tuesday, August 5, 2008, 1:00 PM Central Time

How much time does your library spend on “training?” Statistics show that most learning takes place on the job or with a coworker, yet, as trainers, we spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for and delivering classroom training. In this webinar you will learn why you need to get your staff out of the classroom and instead focus on creating a culture of learning in your library.

Lori will explore:

  • The differences between training and learning
  • The benefits to libraries for creating a culture of learning
  • The key elements of a learning organization
  • Tips for creating a culture of learning in any size library

Please register for this webinar here: http://evanced.info/webjunction/evanced/eventsignup.asp?ID=1502

via CE Buzz





100 Potentially Useful Reference Sites List…07.31.08

31 07 2008

Laura Miligan of the of Teaching Tips [ http://www.teachingtips.com/blog/2008/07/07/100-unbelievably-useful-reference-sites-youve-never-heard-of/ ] has posted “100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites You’ve Never Heard Of” which is worth keeping as a reference source. This does not mean, however, that I endorse or approve of everything on the list





17 Creative Use of Photos from iLibrarian…07.31.08

31 07 2008

Here is a list of 17 things you can do with photos from the iLibrarian (Ellyssa Kroski) blog [http://oedb.org/blogs/ilibrarian/2008/17-things-to-do-with-your-online-photos/]:

“…Create Animoto Music Videos – Easily create music videos from your photo sets on Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, and others with Animoto.

Create Blog Slideshows with FlickrSLiDR - This very simple tool instantly creates nicely formatted slideshows from your Flickr photos that can be embedded in your blog or website. PictoBrowser and many others are similar. See my slideshows with these tools here.

Create Business Cards – Make business cards, stickers, postcards, and more from your photos which you have stored on Flickr, Facebook, and other social networks at Moo.com.

Create Librarian Trading Cards, Badges, & More Fun – Easy to use tools will walk you through creating trading cards, magazine covers, movie posters and more with your online photos here at Big Huge Labs.

Edit Photos with Picnik – This Web-based photo editor has partnered with Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket, and others to provide you with instant image editing tools from within these social websites, look for the Edit Photo option when viewing your photos, or browse to Picnik to connect the editor with your accounts.

Create an Online Scrapbook – Organize your photos into an online scrapbook such as this one which spotlights a trip to Italy with Scrapblog.

Create a Coffee Table Book – Create gorgeous hardcover photo books with the easy-to-use Blurb bookmaking software.

Create a Newsletter – Create beautifully designed newsletters and photo collages with LetterPop.

Create Social Networking Slideshows – Create fun slideshows to embed on social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace. Customize backgrounds, music and special effects at Slide.com or RockYou.

Frame Your Photos – Add photo frame templates to your photos which will transform them into motivational posters, bus stop signs, and billboards at Image Chef.

Create Photo Collages – Place your photos into Web-based collages with Tabblo

Create Photo Widgets – Experiment with thousands of photo widgets found on Widgetbox and embed your creations on your websites and blogs…”





ISEN Unfolds as the future ISBN for Catalogs & Databases…07.30.08

30 07 2008

The Catablog http://catalogablog.blogspot.com/ blog posted the following today about the upcoming intention of creating ISBN-like numbers for catalogs and databases:

“The Internet Search Environment Number (ISEN) intends to catalog catalogs and other databases.

You know how the ISBN is assigned to books. Over 1 million books are assigned ISBNs each year. What ISEN plans to do is emulate that system for databases. We would assign over 1 million databases ISEN or Internet Search Environment Numbers once the system is in place in its first year. There may be as many as 5 million in the backlog for cataloging by a social nework of librarians. Life Science databases would be cataloged by life science librarians, law resources by law librarians, etc… 

Then we would create a database of databases or search engine only for databases. Your hit list would only be databases instead of PDF files, blog postings and random HTML files. We pull out the databases. The hits you get would be the interface to databases which provides access to upwards of 500 to 650 times the amount of information available on the ‘surface web’ indexed by the major search engines. ISEN reveals the what is called the ‘deep web’.

They have a weblog and mailing list.”





Learning Cataloging of Non-Print, 3-D, “Realia”…07.30.08

30 07 2008

This won’t be a negative post about the library school I attended or a general post about all the things I think they should have taught but rather on my focus at the time. Since I was not inclined then toward cataloging (“technical services” was the farthest topic from my library interests), only cursory attention was given to the required coursework on the subject although I did well.  Now though I find myself in a position where it would have been beneficial for a more comprehensive and concentrated review of the subject, particularly in regards to cataloging non-print materials. 

I have no problem cataloging our print and audio/visual materials, using DDC with LCSH.  However, I am running into a quandary as how to cope with such collections as print photographs, posters and prints, and “realia” like a large variety of 3-D donor gift premiums, memorabilia, artifacts, etc.

The dilemma at present is that searching online for help has been relatively fruitless to date.  Most references are to highly technical reports or manuals that are geared toward catalog librarians.





What I’m Reading Now…07.30.08

30 07 2008

Yesterday during my lunch break I drove to our local public library and picked up an ILL of The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel to add to the books I am currently reading in my spare time.  Here is an excerpt from the introduction of the book:

“…The starting point is a question.

Outside theology and fantastic literature, few can doubt that the main features of our universe are its dearth of meaning and lack of discernible purpose. And yet, with bewildering optimism, we continue to assemble whatever scraps of information we can gather in scrolls and books and computer chips, on shelf after library shelf, whether material, virtual or otherwise, pathetically intent on lending the world a semblance of sense and order, while knowing perfectly well that, however much we’d like to believe the contrary, our pursuits are sadly doomed to failure.

Why then do we do it? Though I knew from the start that the question would most likely remain unanswered, the quest seemed worthwhile for its own sake. This book is the story of that quest…”

Amazon describes the book thusly:

“…’The starting point is a question,’ Alberto Manguel writes in the introduction to The Library at Night: since few can doubt that the universe is ultimately meaningless and purposeless, why do we try to give it order? After all, our efforts are surely doomed to failure.

It’s hard to think of a more profound or serious subject to start with – but The Library at Night, Alberto Manguel says, is by no means a systematic answer. Rather, it is the story of the search for one. In the tradition of A History of Reading, this book is an account of Manguel’s astonishment at the variety, beauty and persistence of our efforts to shape the world and our lives, most notably through something almost as old as reading itself: libraries.

The result is both intimately personal and incredibly wide-ranging: it is a fascinating study of the mysteries of libraries, a thorough analysis of their history throughout the world and an esoteric, enchanting celebration of reading. It is, perhaps most of all, a book that only Alberto Manguel could have written…”

I also picked up and am reading the biography Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson which is an interesting and fast read. 





Library Day in the Life Wiki…07.29.08

29 07 2008

I think the Library Day in the Life project http://librarydayinthelife.pbwiki.com/  is pretty interesting and relevant to the purpose and content of my daily blog. Although I don’t detail everything that goes on each day, I do provide a cohesive thread along those lines from when I started blogging.  If I had the extra time to devote to a detailed reporting of my daily activities, I would do so.  Perhaps I will at some future date.  However, it seems from my review of what most post online about their activities, mine would seem rather mundane and somewhat misleading since many of my daily activities would not appear immediately as directly library-related since I have an organizational marketing component to my position which is a little too complex to grasp without much explanation.  Anyway, a description of the project follows.  I plan to look in from time to time to see what the various participants say they do each day.

“…Whether you are a librarian or library worker of any kind, help us share and learn about the joys and challenges of working in a library. Join us by sharing details of your day for a week on your blog. Not only is this a great way for us to see what our colleagues are doing and how they spend their days but it’s a great way for students who are interested in the library profession to see what we really do. 

If you are interested in sharing your day/week in the life:

  1. Add your name to the list below. The invitation code to log in is: library.
  2. Add your name, your job title (so we can see what you do at a glance) and a link to your blog.
  3. Next week* start blogging.
  4. Tag your posts with librarydayinthelife.
  5. Later you can come back and edit this page to change your blog link to a link to your tagged posts. 

Thank you to Bobbi Newman for this wonderful idea! You can read the post that inspired librarydayinthelife on Bobbi’s site Librarian by Day.  

7/24/08 edit – It looks like this is still making the rounds and if everyone else is in agreement maybe we can making this an ongoing project.  New people can sign up whenever they discover it and I know some people are already talking about doing it again in 6 months or so…”





Public Library Trends Database Available for Searching…07.29.08

29 07 2008

LibGig http://www.libgig.com/ had a very useful post yesterday about the launch of the Gannett searchable database of public library trends:

Gannett News Service released a searchable database July 17 that compares trends affecting public library systems between 2002 and 2006. The analysis used data from the National Center for Education Statistics as well as statistics collected from state library data coordinators, compared figures for the some 9,200 library systems, and found that library visits increased by roughly 10% during that five-year period and that circulation of materials rose by 9%.  read more »

 





Marketing Corporate Libraries Brochure from ProQuest Helpful…07.28.08

28 07 2008

Through an unrelated online search today, I found a concise but helpful and relevant new brochure from ProQuest geared toward corporate special libraries called the “The Visible Corporate Library: Marketing Ideas for Promoting Your Resources and Services.” The letter from the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Customer Care describes the contents as follows:  “…This booklet, The Visible Corporate Library, contains tips for identifying marketing opportunities, ideas for promoting your services, notes on how to help your users have a good experience when they come to you for help, tips on what to measure and how to communicate your library’s value, and some networking and support ideas. In addition to this booklet, you will find the ‘Corporate Library Toolkit’ at www.proquest.com. Click on ‘Library Marketing Tools’…”  I will take a closer look and consider how I might implement some of these marketing ideas in my special library.  You can find it here: http://www.proquest.com/division/docs/visible_corporatelibrary.pdf





15 Objections and Answers to Social Learning…07.28.08

28 07 2008

The following objections and answers to Social Learning are from Kevin Jones http://engagedlearning.net/ :

Objection #14: Prove It!

Objection #13: How Do You Measure ROI?

Objection #12: How Will You Measure That It Is Working?

Objection #11: Too Much Info

Objection #10: Wasting Time

Objection #9: They Aren’t Technical

Objection #8: Out of Date Information

Objection #7: The Information is Wrong!

Objection #6: Mixing Things Up

Objection #5: How Do You Know it’s Accurate?

Objection #4: Posting Anything, Including Bonobos

Objection #3: Control of Information

Objection #2: What Does This Have To Do With Training?

Objection #1: Socialize!





New Google Rival Search Engine CUIL Debuts Today…07.28.08

28 07 2008

The Cuil (pronounced as “cool”) website says, “Cuil is an old Irish word for knowledge. For knowledge, ask Cuil.”

CNN reported today:

“…Anna Patterson’s last Internet search engine was so impressive that industry leader Google Inc. bought the technology in 2004 to upgrade its own system.

She believes her latest invention is even more valuable – only this time it’s not for sale.

Patterson instead intends to upstage Google, which she quit in 2006 to develop a more comprehensive and efficient way to scour the Internet.

The end result is Cuil, pronounced “cool.” Backed by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine plans to begin processing requests for the first time Monday.

Cuil had kept a low profile while Patterson, her husband, Tom Costello, and two other former Google engineers – Russell Power and Louis Monier – searched for better ways to search.

Now, it’s boasting time.

Web index: For starters, Cuil’s search index spans 120 billion Web pages.

Patterson believes that’s at least three times the size of Google’s index, although there is no way to know for certain. Google stopped publicly quantifying its index’s breadth nearly three years ago when the catalog spanned 8.2 billion Web pages…”





Public Library Funding Study Results…07.27.08

27 07 2008

I found an interesting blog post from Friday about a public library funding report from OCLC that I thought was worth excerpting and further review of the complete study when time permits.  Although I work in a special library, some of the results are worth noting and may be helpful in future positions or work with a Friends of the Library group.  The following are excerpts I found particularly interesting from the post “From Awareness to Funding” [http://gathernodust.blogspot.com/2008/07/from-awareness-to-funding-part-iii-how.html] :

“…In this third part, I will wrap up the analysis of the report and provide what I think libraries could do in relation to this report…

Advice from elected officials:

Stress the library’s return on investment (ROI) to the community

  1. Build strategic partnerships
  2. Be proactive
  3. Engage voters in the campaign
  4. Stress the broad appeal of the library

Elected officials on library funding campaigns

Elected officials cited a number of important components required of a successful
library funding campaign:

  • Messaging that focuses on the broader value of the library to the community,specifically a community gathering place, access to technology and programs for teenagers and other groups
  • A passionate, committed and active champion(s) who can rally support among the elected officials and community influences
  • Civic engagement, including a commitment to speak with every relevant group in the community to encourage grassroots support
  • A willingness to partner with other public services in a joint effort where strategically advantageous
  • The ability to ask for the right support at the right time:
    • Voter turnout is greater for general elections than local elections
    • It is often easier to campaign for a new building than for operating funds…

A definite need, the “passionate librarian”

These five attributes can be combined to describe the ‘passionate librarian’:p152

True advocate for lifelong learning

  • Passionate about making the library relevant again
  • Knowledgeable about every aspect of the library
  • Well-educated
  • Knowledgeable about the community.

There seems to be a DEFINITE correlation between passionate librarians and support. Sure if your staff doesn’t care about the library, why should anyone else? Furthermore, if you are a mover and shaker is it more important that you ARE one rather than what specifically you are doing?…

Library’s Relevance is questioned

Information: The library is one of many sources of information. It could potentially be replaced by a combination of bookstores, schools, coffee shops and the Internet.

  • Institution: The library is an institution sometimes associated with an out-of-date building, aged materials and limited accessibility. (The library has limited hours, the Internet is available 24/7.)
  • Nice to have: Availability of so many other options for information and learning make the library a ‘nice to have’ service, rather than a necessity.
  • Past: The library is an important part of supporters’ lives, but they question whether it is still relevant for their children and grandchildren.
  • Altruism for others: The library is less important to them, but it is important for ‘other people’ in the community.

p 174

Probable Supporters and Super Supporters felt that support for libraries
can be improved by increasing the public’s attention to four essential community benefits that the public library uniquely delivers:

  • Equal access: ‘No kid should have an excuse for not having a book or knowing how to do research. If you don’t have a computer at home, you can go to the public library.’
  • Shared community values (or teaches values) ‘It’s one of the few things that truly can provide a sense of community. It doesn’t belong to anyone but to all of us. It’s a good lesson in respect, being quiet, signing up for Internet time, returning books on time. It’s kind of a good building block in respect.’
  • A sacred place ‘It’s a gathering place where lots of different people can listen to someone else’s ideas, whether spoken or written.’ (Super Supporter, Medford, Oregon)
  • Community stature. ‘It represents a commitment by the community to cultural and intellectual activities.’…”




Terms for Library “Users” Poll on Library Journal Website…07.26.08

26 07 2008

I hadn’t thought about it but when I saw a side-bar poll on the Library Journal homepage soliciting what term I use to describe my library’s users I thought I would vote. I am a sucker for those small radio dial polls online.

I have been using the term “patrons” as does my ILS software.  I wonder if use of this term reveals my age or how long ago or where I went to library school.  I thought maybe there was a new term the “in” librarians of today might be using and I might be on the outside.  Anyway, the results were interesting although probably not of major significance. I’ll have to spend further thought on the subject and its potential ramifications, if any.

It is seems a little confusing how the poll results are displayed with the percentage and bar graph on top of the terms.  It takes a few seconds to figure out the results.  This emphasizes a good point I read on a recent Seth Godin blog post [ http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/07/bar-graphs-vs-p.html of which I agree: “… In a presentation to non-scientists (or to bored scientists), the purpose of a chart or graph is to make one point, vividly. Tell a story and move on. If you can’t be both vivid and truthful, it doesn’t belong in your presentation. (I can think of dozens of good uses of bar graphs… they’re not forbidden, they’re just overused and misused)…”

Here are the results of the poll at the time I participated:

READER POLL
What do you call people who use your library?
 0.94%
Client
 11.25%
Customer
 1.12%
Member
 81.54%
Patron
 1.31%
Reader
 3.84%
User

View Previous Poll Results





Google Index Reaches 1 Trillion Unique URL Pages…07.25.08

25 07 2008

Although it reminds me of the old McDonalds evolving signs with the number of hamburgers “served,” Google announced today [http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/we-knew-web-was-big.html]:

We’ve known it for a long time: the web is big. The first Google index in 1998 already had 26 million pages, and by 2000 the Google index reached the one billion mark. Over the last eight years, we’ve seen a lot of big numbers about how much content is really out there. Recently, even our search engineers stopped in awe about just how big the web is these days — when our systems that process links on the web to find new content hit a milestone: 1 trillion (as in 1,000,000,000,000) unique URLs on the web at once!

How do we find all those pages? We start at a set of well-connected initial pages and follow each of their links to new pages. Then we follow the links on those new pages to even more pages and so on, until we have a huge list of links. In fact, we found even more than 1 trillion individual links, but not all of them lead to unique web pages. Many pages have multiple URLs with exactly the same content or URLs that are auto-generated copies of each other. Even after removing those exact duplicates, we saw a trillion unique URLs, and the number of individual web pages out there is growing by several billion pages per day.

So how many unique pages does the web really contain? We don’t know; we don’t have time to look at them all! :-) Strictly speaking, the number of pages out there is infinite — for example, web calendars may have a “next day” link, and we could follow that link forever, each time finding a “new” page. We’re not doing that, obviously, since there would be little benefit to you. But this example shows that the size of the web really depends on your definition of what’s a useful page, and there is no exact answer.

We don’t index every one of those trillion pages — many of them are similar to each other, or represent auto-generated content similar to the calendar example that isn’t very useful to searchers. But we’re proud to have the most comprehensive index of any search engine, and our goal always has been to index all the world’s data.

To keep up with this volume of information, our systems have come a long way since the first set of web data Google processed to answer queries. Back then, we did everything in batches: one workstation could compute the PageRank graph on 26 million pages in a couple of hours, and that set of pages would be used as Google’s index for a fixed period of time. Today, Google downloads the web continuously, collecting updated page information and re-processing the entire web-link graph several times per day. This graph of one trillion URLs is similar to a map made up of one trillion intersections. So multiple times every day, we do the computational equivalent of fully exploring every intersection of every road in the United States. Except it’d be a map about 50,000 times as big as the U.S., with 50,000 times as many roads and intersections.

As you can see, our distributed infrastructure allows applications to efficiently traverse a link graph with many trillions of connections, or quickly sort petabytes of data, just to prepare to answer the most important question: your next Google search.”

I would like to add an excerpt from a blog post from the Australian blog “Libraries Interact” http://librariesinteract.info/ entitled “Size of the Internet”:

“Asking how big the internet is, is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. The answer is we really don’t know because it is unorganised, uncatalogued and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.

However, two recent sources are having a guestimate on where the internet is in terms of a global resource.

The first came from Internet World Stats which is “an International website featuring up to date world Internet Usage, Population Statistics and Internet Market Research Data, for over 233 individual countries and world regions.”

Their statistics put the number of worldwide internet users at 1.407 billion, up from 16 million in 1995.  How things have changed.  This is now 21.1% or more than 1 in every 5 people in the world who use the internet. They have an interesting table and graph, showing the growth over the last 13 years, which are well worth checking out.

These statistitcs are of course skewed by western nations’ use.  Australia/Oceania, for example has only 0.5% of the world’s population, but 1.4% of the world’s internet users.  Of the total population in this corner of the world, 57% are internet users.  If we broke that further down to Australia alone, that would be higher.

The other stat come from the Google blog (thanks to Phil Bradley for the link).  According to the Google post - We knew the web was big…., their “systems that process new links on the web to find new content hit a milestone: 1 trillion .. unique URLs on the web at once!”  Wow, that’s 1,000,000,000,000 URLs.   This does not include duplicated cotent or auto-generated copies, so its not as inflated as it may seem.

Very interesting too is that the first Google index in 1998 (yes, they are 10 years old this year), only had 26 million unique URLS. The post won’t guess at how many unique pages are on the web, although they suggest it could be infinite.

Big numbers, big things happening, just all the more reason for libraries to be there too.”





Copyright Made Easy–New ALA Slide Rule…07.25.08

25 07 2008

The Centered Librarian’s blog post today http://centeredlibrarian.blogspot.com/ relates helpful information for busy librarians regarding the copyright maze:

Copyright law. Not my favorite subject, but an important one to the librarian profession. If you are like me and do not have the time or inclination to wade through pages of legal jargon or sit through hours of mind numbing copyright workshops, then you will appreciate this tool from the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy.

The copyright slide-rule is designed to help librarians determine the copyright status of creative works.




Upcoming WebJunction Seminars…07.25.08

25 07 2008

I appreciate the working being done at WebJunction.  Here is a list of upcoming library or library-related webinars:

Read more at the WebJunction Blog.

Managing and Motivating Your Board (Rural Webinar)
When: Thursday July 31st, 2008 – 01:00 PM

Cultivating a Culture of Learning in the Library (Learning Webinar)
When: Tuesday August 5th, 2008 – 01:00 PM

Engaging with our New Community of Practice (SLO Webinar)
When: Tuesday August 12th, 2008 – 12:00 PM

Communication Between Techies and Non-Techies (MaintainIT Cookbook Webinar)
When: Wednesday August 13th, 2008 – 01:00 PM

Creating a Technology Petting Zoo (Learning Webinar)
When: Thursday August 14th, 2008 – 01:00 PM

Conflict in a Peaceful Library (Learning Webinar)
When: Tuesday September 16th, 2008 – 01:00 PM

Latinos Perceptions of Public Libraries (SLO Webinar)
When: Tuesday October 14th, 2008 – 12:00 PM

Refugees 101 (Community Webinar)
When: Thursday October 23rd, 2008 – 01:00 PM

“It is good to live and learn.”–Miguel de Cervantes





Good Things to Do and NOT Do If the Layoff Notice Comes…07.25.08

25 07 2008

I certainly don’t expect or plan on being laid off and there are no indications to the contrary.  I am trying to be of increasing value to my employer as time goes on. Hopefully, it will be noticed.

You never know, however, what a day will bring forth. 

Lifehacker referred to an article in today’s New York Times entitled “If Your Being Laid Off or Expecting to Be” by Marci Alboher [http://shiftingcareers.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/25/if-youre-laid-off-or-expecting-to-be/].  Here are highlights I though were worth noting:

“…We began by talking about the things you shouldn’t do after being laid off, like saying disparaging things about your former employer to anyone other than close friends and family.

We then moved on to some of the more practical elements — making sure that your résumé is in order, that you have something presentable to wear to interviews and professional meetings and that you have spiffed up your online presence, if that is appropriate in your field.

We spent a good bit of time talking about touching base with all the crucial people in your network. And in times like this, when so many layoffs are driven by the slowing economy, there really is no need to feel any shame when picking up the phone to share the news with someone and ask for support, job leads or introductions. Often it’s the weak ties — the friends of your closest friends, for example — not the strong ties, that lead to opportunities. So make sure that you are systematically trying to reach those people. Linkedin [http://www.linkedin.com/] is a very good tool for locating people who are one or two degrees away from your immediate circle. Another way is to start putting out the word to everyone you come into contact with that you are open to introductions.

Finally, I suggested that people do some writing. While it may feel like an odd time for gratitude, you may make some good impressions by composing a few handwritten thank you notes to those who have helped you in your career. Similarly, if you can craft a graceful departure e-mail thanking colleagues for their support, providing your personal contact information and saying you are open to any leads or introductions, again you may be pleased with the results…”





Google Influence Prediction on Libraries and Collective Human Memory…07.24.08

24 07 2008

The Guardian in the UK had an interesting article about the growing influence of Google on libraries and human knowledge yesterday entitled “A Google Map for Your Library” by John Sutherland http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/jul/23/research.google.  There has been much said and speculated about Google and I’m sure the discourse will continue.  Here are some of the comments:

Sutherland said, “…What we are witnessing this year is the beginning of the greatest act of recovered memory in the history of our species [hyperbole?]. The next decade will be the age of the unimaginably vast archive. More particularly, the dynamic and usable archive. The archive, that is, which hurls its contents at you, rather than requiring laborious spadework.

Coming down from the metaphorical heights [please do], the Google Library Project is principally what I’m thinking about. It rolls out this year and will connect, at infinite points, with an array of other digitised knowledge stores and electronic catalogues, covering every discipline from Archaeology to Zoology.

When the GLP has finally hovered up its 5m volumes from the great libraries of the Anglophone world (is that a Gallic moan of pain I hear?) scholars will move across their subjects with the ease and grace of skaters on an ice rink…

What used to be legwork is now time-management. And what we (I mean “they”, of course – the upcoming generation) will urgently need are navigational aids. Something equivalent, that is, to a scholar’s Tom-Tom, or GPS. A knowledge management system: let’s call it KMS…

To its credit, the GLP (although it works on embedded indexing systems) retains original pagination, which makes any print-version index usable.

This is technical stuff – and the current imperfections will doubtless be ironed out over time. Nowhere is the hamster running faster than in silicon valley’s treadmills. But, for the moment, the scholar may be skating on thin ice. The human touch (and human on-the-page analysis) retains its vital value if we want to find our way through the ever-enlarging info-mass.

There is a larger issue. As the president of the American Society for Indexing, Fred Leise, explained, the GLP indexes operate by means of what is called a “control vocabulary” assigned to every single text. Obviously, a brute-force word search through 5m vols looking for, say, “England” will come up with haystacks not needles. But who controls that control vocabulary, and the gateway to information? Google. And they who control it, control knowledge. Ask yourself, what would the Chinese government do with this tool?

Individual, human, indexers are as necessary to the university world of the future as index fingers are to our bodies. Far from being superseded, indexers are the future pilots of scholarship. At the moment they are the exploited Bob Cratchits of the academic enterprise [nice image, eh?]…”

Thoughts from the past: 

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.”

Samuel Johnson

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.”

Benjamin Disraeli





Google Debuts Wikipedia-Like “Knol” Product…07.23.08

23 07 2008

Google announced today [http://googleblog.blogspot.com/]: “A few months ago we announced that we were testing a new product called Knol. Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects. Today, we’re making Knol available to everyone…

The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It’s their knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject, and we think that is good.

With Knol, we are introducing a new method for authors to work together that we call ‘moderated collaboration.’ With this feature, any reader can make suggested edits to a knol which the author may then choose to accept, reject, or modify before these contributions become visible to the public. This allows authors to accept suggestions from everyone in the world while remaining in control of their content…

Knols include strong community tools which allow for many modes of interaction between readers and authors. People can submit comments, rate, or write a review of a knol. At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads from our AdSense program. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with a revenue share from the proceeds of those ad placements…Everyone knows something. See what people are writing about, then tell the world what you know: knol.google.com.”

We’ll have to check it out!





Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man

23 07 2008

…quoteth the bard.  It sure seems that way to us sometimes when things aren’t going the way we would choose and patience is waxing thin. The status quo, however, is in reality only a temporal moment that quickly fleets away like life itself.  Aye, keeping perspective there’s the rub!

Despite setbacks in what should be or could be done in this position, I rest secure in the arms of Providence with a clear conscience that every effort has and will be done to do the best job possible.





BiblioCommons…Social Discovery System for Libraries…07.23.08

23 07 2008

Norman Oder reported for Library Journal about the new library software BiblioCommons: 

BilbioCommons, a new social discovery system for libraries that replaces all user-facing OPAC functionality, allowing for faceted searching and easier user commenting and tagging, has gone live in Oakville, ON, a city of 160,000 outside Toronto. It is expected to be used by public libraries serving more than half of Canada’s population—and some libraries in the United States, too. ‘This is revolutionary, as far as I’m concerned,’ Gail Richardson, Oakville PL’s acting director of online services, told LJ. ‘People don’t want a library that acts like just a glorified card catalog online. They want a catalog that’s as good as Google and Amazon.’ 

Library users, said Richardson, most want ‘easy reader’s advisory,’ a better way to get recommendations and to connect with people online.  Beth Jefferson, BiblioCommons’ founder, told LJ that the system makes it easier for users to comment—not ‘review’—and tag items wherever they are in the system—a more seamless approach than a product like LibraryThing for Libraries or WorldCat. LibraryThing (in use at the Danbury PL, CT), she said, has ‘real value, but it puts data into the existing catalog…it doesn’t affect search, fundamentally.’…

BiblioCommons has been working with several ILS vendors, notably SirsiDynix. ‘We have fully integrated with [SirsiDynix’s] Unicorn and Horizon,’ Jefferson said, ‘and just completed integration with [Ex Libris’s] Voyager for Queen’s University’ in Kingston, ON. She said BiblioCommons is currently testing with two California libraries, in Palo Alto and in Santa Clara County, with others in the United States under discussion…”





So Many E-books Now Available Online–Many FREE…07.22.08

22 07 2008

Now that I’ve been thinking more specifically of creating a unified personal learning network, resources seem to be popping up all over.  The following post is from July 16, 2008 [Disclaimer-I don't necessarily personally approve of everything on the lists, their names, or their contents]:

“…More than 100 (web 2.0) addictive book related sites where you can spend any minute of the rest of your life! Linking more than 1.000.000 free books and stories.

Fan Fiction / SF / Fantasy

44 elfwood
45 bean free library
46 fanfiction.net
47 fictionpress
48 fictionalley
49 subreality

Make your own books

83 blurb
84 Lulu 100

Magz, Reviews and Interviews

98 Reader Robot
99 cnn reviews
100 small spiral notebook
101 bookrags

Collect and Read Together

108 bookmooch
109 librarything
110 shelfari
111 bibliophil
112 chainreading
113 goodreads
114 bookglutton
115 freeonlinebooks.org …”





Video Explaining Free Use of TexShare Dabases…07.22.08

22 07 2008

I recently shared the with my department about the TexShare databases that are available for free searching through local public libraries or online from anywhere using a user name and password obtained from local public libraries. The above video posted on YouTube is a good introductory marketing tool for the service. Periodic unsolicited information sent to patrons from library resources highlights and reinforces the value of library and/or information services.





Bloglines RSS Feed Part of Personal Learning Network…07.22.08

22 07 2008

Thinking through the creation of a personal learning network as described in Sunday’s post, I realize that a fundamental part of my current network is the use of Bloglines as a RSS feed aggregator/feed reader which I have used for quite some time.  I currently have 100 feeds from librarian or library-related sites which I review daily or several times per day when possible.  It takes time but not as much time as searching all over the web for the latest news and information in the field.  It also engenders new ideas and possibilities while stoking further interest.





Video Archive Cataloging Postponed Indefinitely…07.21.08

21 07 2008

It is a little more than disheartening to learn today that it appears that the fall cataloging preparation trip to our off-site video archives is now completely off the radar for undisclosed reasons–even for discussion– according to management . The subject was put off for months with an August 1 meeting scheduled to review the matter. I can speculate why but will not do so here.  Speculation doesn’t help the situation or anyone.

I’ll have to wait until a future appropriate opportunity arises to try to receive permission to arrange for several pallets of materials to be sent to me for cataloging.  Unfortunately, I’m afraid that if this is done any time soon it will be done indiscriminately without regard to the work that has been done or the planning that went into previous organizational efforts–not a great way to start the week.

Of course, this new development does not bode well for championing any attempts at starting any conservation or preservation efforts which are greatly needed and, incidentally, part of my initial job description.





Considering Creating a PLN (Personal Learning Network)…07.21.08

21 07 2008

Whether I knew it or not, I have been working on the creation of a PLN on a few different topics, usually library oriented.  I found the following post from “The Thinking Stick” blog called “Stages of PLN Adoption” [http://www.thethinkingstick.com/?p=652] pretty interesting and something to which I want to devote much thought.

David Warlick wrote a post the other day about being able to zip up or turn off your Personal Learning Network (PLN). I too have been thinking about how one goes about starting a PLN, how do you monitor it, and how do you learn to shut it off…

I have noticed an emerging trend of what one goes through when adopting a PLN for the first time. I myself continue to look at the stages I am going through in adopting this new way of learning, interacting, and teaching in a collaborative, connected world…

Stages of Personal Learning Networks Adoption

Stage 1 Immersion: Immerse yourself into networks. Create any and all networks you can find where there are people and ideas to connect to. Collaboration and connections take off.

Stage 2 Evaluation: Evaluate your networks and start to focus in on which networks you really want to focus your time on. You begin feeling a sense of urgency and try to figure out a way to “Know it all.”

Stage 3 Know it all: Find that you are spending many hours trying to learn everything you can. Realize there is much you do not know and feel like you can’t disconnect. This usually comes with spending every waking minutes trying to be connected to the point that you give up sleep and contact with others around you to be connected to your networks of knowledge.

Stage 4 Perspective: Start to put your life into perspective. Usually comes when you are forced to leave the network for awhile and spend time with family and friends who are not connected (a vacation to a hotel that does not offer a wireless connection, or visiting friends or family who do not have an Internet connection).

Stage 5 Balance: Try and find that balance between learning and living. Understanding that you can not know it all, and begin to understand that you can rely on your network to learn and store knowledge for you. A sense of calm begins as you understand that you can learn when you need to learn and you do not need to know it all right now.

Personally I continue to struggle with balance in my life between being connected and being here in person… PLNs are very powerful, but they are not all there is to life…and I’m just glad I have a wife who reminds me of that from time to time. )

I’ve created this image as a way to show what I’m thinking. I believe there is also a correlation here with learning. As you immerse yourself into the network your learning increases, the more you learn, the more you want to learn, the more immersed you become within the network. Until you reach a point that you understand the fundamentals of Web 2.0, the direction of Education, or whatever it is that interests you and you have in your PLN to begin with.

I also do not believe you have to go through all these stages. Some people jump from stage 2 to stage 5 or do not become so immersed into their PLN that they ever reach stage 3, that sense of having to ‘know it all.’…

 





Further Personal Reading & ILL Frustration…07.20.08

20 07 2008

I have used the ILL at a local public library to acquire a couple of books I want to read and will when they are available.  One is Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age by Maggie Johnson which Publisher Weekly has described as a:

“…richly detailed and passionately argued book, Jackson (What’s Happening to Home?) warns that modern society’s inability to focus heralds an impending Dark Age—an era historically characterized by the decline of a civilization amid abundance and technological advancement. Jackson posits that our near-religious allegiance to a constant state of motion and addiction to multitasking are eroding our capacity for deep, sustained, perceptive attention—the building block of intimacy, wisdom and cultural progress and stunting society’s ability to comprehend what’s relevant and permanent…”

The other book is Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life by Richard Florida.  Publisher Weekly describes this work as:

Choosing a spouse and choosing a career are important life decisions—but perhaps even more predictive of our all-round personal happiness is our choice of living location, argues Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) in this informative if somewhat dry tome. As globalization makes the world effectively smaller, economic growth concentrates in certain mega-regions of large superstar cities, leaving other regions in the proverbial dust. The areas where we live are also affected by our increasingly mobile culture, housing priorities that change as we age (from starter homes to family-friendly suburbs to empty nests and finally retirement centers) and the global economy…”

Mmmmmmmmm…  I have lived in many places and really only one partly by choice–Lake Mary, Florida. It was a good decision to move there but through circumstance, direction, and necessity was only able to stay there 3 years.  It is a great area I would highly recommend if you can afford it.

Due to the financial crunch we’re almost all feeling lately, I am resorting more and more to personal ILL through my local public library for leisure and other reading materials. It has been an unnecessary challenge to do so though.

The community in which I live has no public library.  No public library close by would allow me a free library card because I was not a resident of their community.  I finally found a public library about a 35-minute drive away which would let me get a library card without paying an annual fee.  I then had to wait 3 months to get a TexShare card from that library so I can go back and use those libraries closer to my home.  However, I still have to go through the library from which I received the initial card to do an ILL via telephone.  This means I have to drive to this far away library to physically receive the materials when they arrive.






Personal Leisure Reading…07.18.08

18 07 2008

A new book I am reading is America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation by Kenneth C. Davis.  I initially just happened upon this book while perusing my local Barnes & Nobel outlet.  I happened upon it in the new book section of my closest public library so I checked it out using my newly acquired TexShare card.  

By coincidence, the first chapter talks about something I knew about because I lived in central Florida and have visited the historical sites mentioned.  Specifically, it details the events pre-dating the Pilgrims where the French colony of mostly Huguenots at Ft. Caroline in Florida near Jacksonville were summarily slaughtered by the Spanish from St. Augustine, America’s oldest city.  The chapter also refers to the groups of French who the Spanish dispatched to heaven early south of St. Augustine at the National Monument of Ft. Matanzas (photo on me there on my “Contact” page). 








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