Potentially Useful Library API’s…07.18.08

18 07 2008

The TechEssence blog post yesterday “Library Application Interfaces (API’s)” http://techessence.info/apis from Ron Tennant seems worthy of saving for future reference:

“Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are structured methods for one software application to communicate with another. APIs allow programs to interoperate and share data and services in a standard way. Here is a list of library-related APIs that library developers may find useful. If you have ideas for others that would be appropriate for this list, please contact me.

Only APIs that are deemed to be generally useful are listed here. However, almost any library catalog will have a search API (e.g., Z39.50) and may have others as well depending on the vendor and product. You can also find other APIs at programmableweb.com.

Note: My thanks to Owen Stephens for the original list.”





Reference Interview Problems…07.18.08

18 07 2008

In my situation, there usually isn’t much time or no time for a reference interview when inquiries come flying my way from management.  While multi-tasking librarian and marketing tasks, reference questions or research requests usually come at me quickly without notice from a very short email, a short phone call, or a few seconds verbal request from upper management without time to think about the question/inquiry, time to clarify what is wanted/needed, or time to get back to the person with additional questions. Immediate results are expected and management usually perceive of themselves as too busy to take the time the formal reference interview process.  Of course, this leaves lots of room for error in 1) not retrieving what is wanted, 2) getting too much or too little detail, 3) getting the wrong information.  This situation can also lead to misconceptions about my competence up the management chain with little or usually no recourse to explaining why the results may not have been what was expected.  Being a solo librarian, the situation can lead to multiple professional credibility issues.

This issue was brought to the forefront with a particular instance of which I will share here.  Due to the confidentiality of the inquiry, however, I will be unable to share some of the specifics.

The inquiry started a few days ago when I was asked to file on our computer network a few electronic documents from our organization and some news releases/articles I had found on the Internet after an unsolicited search on the topic.  I then received a request yesterday to search for other items related to the news releases/articles I found but from other specific prominent sources which management said existed. 

A thorough search did not retrieve results from the specific sources requested but management insisted they existed although I assured them they did not.  As a result, management turned to our press agent in a large east coast firm to find the articles.

Later in the day, I was told management wanted news releases/articles from the specific sources mentioned above on the topic but not necessarily related to the specific content of the unsolicited ones I found from other sources and not from the same time frame.  They were looking for much older ones from 3-8 months ago. 

Anyway, the result is that I did the refined search and provided the results requested.  However, the ramifications of the experience are yet to be seen. 

I do not know if upper management received the final search results from my search.  Also, I don’t know– and I may never know–the results of the inquiry to our press agency.  I doubt the time, effort, and cost of taking the search outside the organization was necessary or productive.





New “switchAbit” Routes Your Content to Multiple Social Software Applications…07.17.08

17 07 2008

Although I know about the various social software available, I current only use a feed aggregator and blog, should I delve further into additional applications, I can see how a service like switchAbit http://beta.switchabit.com/ could be very helpful.  It describes itself as “Like the ‘Cc:’ function in email, switchAbit lets you write content once and publish to multiple services. (e.g. Send a tweet and switchAbit will route it Facebook and Jaiku). Control how and when switchAbit is activated by setting up ‘switchboards’ and tags you create…”





LibGig Networking Site for Library and Information Professionals…07.17.08

17 07 2008

LibGig is “a new professional networking website dedicated to bringing together everyon who accesses, organizes, creates, manages, produces or distributes information for a living.”  Their marketing kit goes on to say, “LibGig (http://libgig.com) is a new professional networking, career development and job listing weibsite created by and for the Library and Information Industry…We will alert our readership to top career opportunities and projects while helping them improve career skills through a variety of resources and services. Yet our greater goal is to establish a common, human link, within the enormous and multi-faceted information industry, through dialog, interaction, and sharing of interesting stories, as well as dynamic and exclusive content that encourages interaction, feedback, and debate…”





Open Source Software Support “(Mis) Perception” Debunked…07.16.08

16 07 2008

I have foregone even consideration of open source ILS software for use at BHM fearing that the reaction of our IT Department would be that the support needed would not be there when needed.  This has been a great concern for me as well.  The argument put for by Nicole Engard’s post yesterday “The Curioius (Mis) Perception of Open Source Support”   http://www.web2learning.net/archives/1865 put me over the edge:

“Matt Asay always writes such great posts.

Forrester finds that European enterprises cite support as their biggest reason for not adopting open-source software. This has persisted for years, with support (or, a lack thereof) consistently listed as one of the top reasons that enterprises throughout the world avoid open source.

The ironic thing is that open-source companies primarily sell support, not software. So…while proprietary-software vendors sell licenses with support as an afterthought, enterprises don’t seem to question that they’re going to get support. At the same time, open-source companies sell support with licenses as an afterthought…and enterprise buyers worry that they won’t get support.

I’m just suggesting that stifling your company’s open-source adoption because of a perceived lack of support is silly and outdated. Welcome to the 21st Century. Open-source vendors provide support as good or better than their proprietary peers. Really.

When I teach my open source classes I always focus on this detail because I know that people worry about the support model for open source software. There is also a discussion going on a mailing list I subscribe to about this very topic…”

If I ever selected an open source alternative, however, I’m am confident I’ll still face an uphill battle convincing our current IT Dept. to accept it.

BTW, I never did hear back from our IT Dept. when I requested to know why our ILS software/server was down.





OCLC Study on Funding Libraries Released…07.16.08

16 07 2008

An interesting report on library funding from OCLC, From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America was released yesterday.   

This is from the OCLC summary of the report:  “…From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America found that most people are unaware of how their local libraries are funded, that library financial support is only marginally related to library visitation, and that voters who believe that the library is a transformational force, rather than a source of information, are more likely to support an increase in library funding…The report suggests that market segmentation is key in helping libraries advocate for increased funding support for U.S. public libraries…”

Market segmentation is key in any library’s funding and advocacy efforts.





Delver “Intelligent Social Search Engine”…07.15.08

15 07 2008

If Delver http://www.delver.com/ works well, it could be quite useful.  Here is how it describes itself:

“Delver is an intelligent social search engine that enables you to find, experience and benefit from the wealth of information created and referenced by your social world.

Our mission is to empower you to easily discover and benefit from the collective wisdom of your social world. Your circle of friends and extended network are increasingly creating and sharing useful information and media online through: blogs, videos, reviews, articles, websites, music… and the list is only growing. By indexing all that shared knowledge, media, opinions, and activities, we can deliver search results that are truly relevant to you.”





WebJunction Survey of What Librarians Wish They Knew…07.15.09

15 07 2008

Janet Salma of WebJunction posted survey results yesterday that give us a clue as to what we librarians in general want to know and will help WebJunction in creating programs to help us fulfill our professional aspirations.  An excerpt from the post is here:

When asked, “What skill or knowledge would you like to add to your expertise to help you in your work?” the WebJunction community had a lot to say.  Here’s what they say they wish they knew more about:

Keeping up with new technology
Keeping up with library trends, including Library 2.0
Web design and development
Basic computer skills
Computer programming
Networking, esp, wireless
Time management (including email management)
Cataloging
Office applications, especially Excel
Open source applications
Computer troubleshooting
“Web 2.0″, social tools
•Personnel management
Customer service/ dealing with difficult patrons
Spanish Language (learning it)
Grants (finding, writing) and other fundraising skills
Marketing (especially marketing/outreach materials)
Budgeting & financial planning”

http://www.webjunction.org/do/Home;jsessionid=48CE1F444DA39418CB28EE279AB96043

 





Reference Questions and Answers Custom Search Engine…07.15.08

15 07 2008

Sarah Houghton-Jan posted yesterday about a “…custom search engine in Google [see below] that indexes library sites that post their reference questions, as well as the answers.  The idea is described in a post on the Free Government Information site.  They’re hoping that this project will encourage more libraries to create reference question blogs (each question & answer set gets a post).  Directional and local questions aren’t of much use to a global database, but “those juicy questions that take some time to answer using librarian ingenuity, skill and knowledge” are just what they want.  A good example is this Stanford site.  If your library offers such a thing, let them know (contact info on the CSE page)…”

 Cse





Embedded Librarianship…07.14.08

14 07 2008

I ran across a Rethinking Information Careers post http://lisjobs.com/rethinking/?p=11 today published by Kim on June 28th and titled “Organizations: Who Needs What Info” part of which I found interesting and relevant to my current position and predicament:

“At this year’s SLA conference one of the hot topics was ‘embedded librarianship’ –- that is, working as an information pro for an organization, but not necessarily being attached to or affiliated with a corporate library or business information center.

Sometimes info pros end up as embedded librarians because their organization did away with their library, but were smart enough to realize the brain power of the library’s staffers was too valuable to lose. Other times this is because people were recruited out of the library to work directly, ‘on the ground,’ with an operational team (for example, the product development team). Or it might be that an ops team was simply savvy enough to realize how much they’d benefit from the research/writing/information organization skills of an info pro, and hired directly for that skill set.

Regardless of the path taken to get there, embedded librarianship offers an interesting and potentially growing career opportunity for info pros, one that allows them to contribute directly to team and organizational goals (and make visible their value to the bottom line)…”

At my current employment, I started out as the “librarian/historian” but the position has branched out (supposedly temporarily–since March 2007) to encompass Marketing Department functions which include product development project management and a variety of other marketing information functions. 

At times upon reflection, I feel like Shakespeare’s Prospero: “My library was dukedom large enough.”  I am very grateful though to still maintain my library functions and have a position.  

 

 





2.0 Web Services for Smaller Underfunded Libraries…07.14.08

14 07 2008

Sarah Houghton-Jan, the “LibrarianInBlack”  http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/ has posted her recent 64 pg. powerpoint presentation on web service for smaller, underfunded libraries (that’s covers me and a lot of libraries I’m sure).   It is “I Wanna Be 2.0 Too! Web Services for Smaller Underfunded Libraries.”  The presentation [http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/files/webservicesforsmalllibraries_ohiorefconference2008.pdf]takes a few moments to download (2.61 MB PDF) but is a good summary of what can be done.





Free SirsiDynix Web Seminar About Web Video with David Lee King Tomorrow…07.13.08

13 07 2008

Although I won’t be able to catch it live, I plan on viewing the “Video on the Web: A Primer” seminar [http://www.sirsidynixinstitute.com/seminar_page.php?sid=104] when an archived copy it is available. 

The 1-hour David Lee King [http://www.davidleeking.com] presentation Monday at 11am (EDT) is described as follows:

“Video on the web is one of today’s hottest social networking trends. But what can this emerging technology do for libraries? What is a videoblog and why use one on your library’s website? This in-depth session answers these questions and more. Come explore how libraries are using video for outreach and learning through a variety of case studies, discover tips on what types of content work best for different types of libraries, and learn what to consider when planning for and implementing videocasting at your library.”





Can a “Solo” Professional Librarian be Considered a Library “Manager”?…07.12.08

12 07 2008

I’m sure the topic will come up at some time or another so I have been thinking whether or not I would be considered a library manager within the profession since I am currently a “solo” librarian in a special library without support staff.  This topic has ramifications for me within my organization and in consideration of possible future librarian positions elsewhere.  Of course, I had many years of successful executive management/leadership experience in another non-profit organization not related to a library which probably would not be looked upon favorably since it was in another field.

I found the Information Outlook article from March 2005 by Carol Simon titled “How Can You Be a Manager? You’re a Solo!” excerpted below an interesting and relevant read.

“…Traditional management theory teaches that to be a manager you must manage people….But most solos don’t manage other people…

The Solo Librarians Division Web site describes a solo as a professional who has no immediate peers within the organization.

One popular traditional management theory is POSD-CORB. This theory, first proposed by Luther Gulick and Lyndall Urwick in 1937, identifies the key functions of the chief executive (later expanded to all managers) as Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting, and Budgeting. This and other theories say that managers do more than manage other people: they control fiscal resources, manage technological change, and affect their physical work environment. Managers market, innovate, accomplish change, make decisions, participate in strategic planning, delegate, communicate, motivate, and lead.

In addition to the managerial skills and functions itemized above, solo librarians perform all the professional and clerical/administrative tasks required for the daily functioning of any library. And that is another factor that contributes to the confusion about a solo’s managerial status: Both solos and those to whom solos report often think of these tasks as less than managerial, a misperception that leads to the misplacement of the solo in an organization’s hierarchy and the misclassification of the position. The result is obstacles to future organizational advancement and growth…”

Simon goes on to relate “the various functions managers perform and relate them to a library setting…’ and then says, “…It is vital that the solo understand the organization and its near- and long-term informational needs. All the daily activities solos are engaged in market and reinforce their relevance within the organization. As part of the team looking at the organization’s future activities (strategic planning), the solo contributes information not readily available to other managers. 

Today, the need for a special library is always being questioned, and relevance to the organization is crucial. Constant reexamination and reevaluation of the library’s purpose is part of the job. What services does the library offer? Who in the organization uses these services? More important, who is not being served? What are their information needs and how can their needs be met? Are these potential customers spending hours surfing the Internet looking for information? What changes can be introduced so clients will become more productive and non-clients will come aboard? The solo should partner with other units and departments, aiming for increased relevance and integration within the organization. Only a manager can effect this sort of change…”

“…Whom does a solo manage? All solos manage a professional and are responsible for that employee’s continued professional training, performance evaluation, advancement, and retention. If the solo has clerical support, the solo is responsible for the performance of those employees as well.

Is a solo librarian a manager? Yes, because every solo librarian plans, organizes, and delivers a managed product–information–every day.”

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FWE/is_3_9/ai_n13787645/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

COPYRIGHT 2005 Special Libraries Association
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

Used with permission from CNET Networks, Inc., Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.





Video Archive Dilemma Continues…07.11.08

11 07 2008

This solo librarian experiences daily frustration trying to get definitive answers regarding the status of our off-site and out-of-state video archives containing thousands of items that need cataloging, conservation, and preservation.  The situation has been touched upon in various past posts.  The saga continues with a meeting tentatively scheduled (that means a “coin-toss” possibility) for the beginning of August to discuss the matter of an on-site visit in early September.  The uncertainty and vastness of this project can set my nerves on edge if I dwell upon it.  There is plenty of other work to do daily in both facets of my position.  However, it would be overwhelmingly calming to know something concrete as to the future of this area of our library resources.  Considering the amount of the organization’s resources that have been spent to create and store these materials over the years, it seems that it would be important enough to make them a priority.  I will continue to be proactive and provide reminders to management as opportunities arise.





Google Librarian Newsletter Reappears…07.11.08

11 07 2008

Regardless of our opinions of Google, they are an important player in the information biz.  It is worthy of note that there is a new Google Librarian Newsletter which Googls says, “…you can read our current issue online, and if you’re not already receiving the newsletter by email you can subscribe to it here.

As always, past editions are available to view at any time on the Google Librarian Central site. Working in tandem with this page is Google for Educators, a resource for information about how to use a wide range of Google tools. We’ll use the Google for Educators page to post teaching tools like our posters and tip sheets…”





Helpful Thoughts in Articulating the Value of Librarians and Information Professionals…07.11

11 07 2008

Although the excerpt below is from an article from Stephen Abram published in the February 2008 Information Outlook entitled “Is There Such a Thing as Information Overload?”, I found his thoughts below insightful in helping to provide fodder to those who question the relative need for and/or ROI of having information professionals and/or librarians on staff.  It is a longer excerpt than normal but I don’t think he will mind.  Chime in with comments if you have additional thoughts!

“…The Skills that Information Professionals and Librarians Enhance  

1. Search, Seek and Find

Widespread access to the web and its riches has created the illusion with the average end-user that they have unlimited access to quality information. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a vast difference between simple, positive, information experiences when choosing a movie, vacation or restaurant and those required when one is betting the business. Hundreds or indeed thousands of expensive coworkers spending hours seeking information on the web and not finding it or finding it very slowly, or repeating these efforts many times across many employees is not a good way to run a business. If informed decision-making is the goal of organizations then organizations must, logically, invest in excellent information practices. Empowered librarians do this.

2. Going Beyond the Free Web

We all know that there is good content for free on the web. It is, however, not a competitive advantage to have identical information to everyone else. It seems simple but it’s amazing to me how many executives fail to grasp this concept! Information wants to be free – not just cost free but unfettered. The best way to unfetter information is to employ an information professional. The free web is riddled with information rot, aging websites, bad links and more. Simply put, librarians know how to access quality, on point information.

3. Determining Authority

Few people can determine authority and authoritativeness to a business standard. Librarians can. This issue goes beyond brand. It’s about making sure that the information that users base their decisions on is trustworthy. Ask, do we want our doctors basing our own health decisions on the free web?; Anti-terrorism strategies?; Your own legal defence? Really – are there any critical questions of life that we would trust our own lives to the free web? Why would be apply a different standard to our enterprise strategies? In many sectors the latest information is sometimes the best. On the web it is often difficult and sometimes impossible to gauge the currentness of the information being accessed. When it really matters, you need to know. Librarians can look under the hood of content and websites, and increase the trust factor.

4. Separating Fact and Opinion

This is the essential skill of true information literacy (and a bunch of other literacies too – media, critical thinking, and more). As our media outlets continue to blur the line between reporting and editorial opinion, this is getting to be a more critical aspect of information practice. I believe that most people cannot tell the difference between a blog and a website or a news article and a column. As we support decisions based on information, it is essential that someone can separate fact, opinion, bias, and point of view. Enterprises must value this skill or risk disaster.

5. Understanding Optimized Search Results 

Too many end users do not understand the role that the search engine optimization industry (SEO) plays in search result rankings. Special interest groups, partisan factions and advertisers have at their disposal a range of tools that allow them to influence what is displayed on the search results that end users see. With localization of SEO becoming more commonplace, your organization is at risk. Does anyone think it’s good that your competitors may be optimizing the results for your co-workers? Value added, for fee or OA databases are not (or at least less) subject to this result manipulation.

6. Filtering and Adding Value

Again most free search engine results give the searcher a huge number of results. This is overload at its worst. Good librarians filter out the best based on the context of the user and their question(s). Great librarians also add value to make the information more instantaneously useful.

7. De-Duplication

With most web searches you find tons of duplicate information. Making end users filter and read all of this is a definite waste of time and productivity. On an organization-wide scale it’s a huge waste of money and staff time. Librarians remove the duplicate information and polish the search results to enhance the productivity of our patrons. Licensing haystacks and finding needles are two different things!

8. Cost Effective Enterprises and Efficiency

In the old days of time-based pricing for online, librarians became adept at ‘fast’ in-and-out searches. Now the game is played differently. Enterprise-wide intranet licensing and the needed end-user training can be cost effective solutions to organization wide information productivity issues. Librarians excel at this.

9. Credulity

As anyone who has been on the Internet for decades knows, spam, phishing and other Internet scams are not new. For whatever reason, there are people out there who have reason to introduce false information into the web. Others just leave superseded information out there through neglect. It takes some time to develop credulity skills and ensure that the information tools and content offered is credible.

10. Content and Tool Awareness  

 

Lastly (although I know there are many more talents!), when your enterprise depends on information to make great decisions then you must invest in content, information systems and information professionals like librarians.  You must invest in keeping up-to-date for competitive advantage. If an organization doesn’t then it deserve to decline and expire. Most organizations depend on informed decisions and knowledgebased learning. Imagine any major knowledge enterprise today doing otherwise. Woul you hire a law firm, go to a hospital; invest in an R&D based company that failed to have good information practice? I hope not…” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Reminder to Watch for the Digital Divide…07.10.08

10 07 2008

There was an interesting and relevant article in the “Families” section of the online edition of The Times yesterday titled “How the Google Generation Thinks Differently.”  Of particular interest is the need to keep in mind the difference between what is termed a “digital native” and a “digital immigrant” when dealing with the younger generation in any context, i.e. patrons, co-workers, students, etc. 

The article [http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article4295414.ece] reported: “… According to researchers we are in the midst of a sea change in the way that we read and think. Our digitally native children have wonderfully flexible minds. They absorb information quickly, adapt to changes and are adept at culling from multiple sources. But they are also suffering from internet-induced attention deficit disorder…”

I suggest reading the whole article.  Here are more highlights:

“…’Because they have been using digital technology all their lives, our children feel they have authority over it,’ says Rose Luckin. ‘But technology cannot teach them to reflect upon and evaluate the information they are gathering online. For that, the role of teachers and parents remains fundamentally important. You are in the hot seat. They still need you to open that conversation.’

NATIVES v IMMIGRANTS

Digital natives
Like receiving information quickly from multiple media sources.
Like parallel processing and multi-tasking.
Like processing pictures, sounds and video before text.
Like random access to hyperlinked multimedia information.
Like to network with others.
Like to learn ‘just in time’.

Digital immigrants
Like slow and controlled release of information from limited sources.
Like singular processing and single or limited tasking.
Like processing text before pictures, sounds and video.
Like to receive information linearly, logically and sequentially.
Like to work independently.
Like to learn ‘just in case’.”





New “Classify” Service from OCLC to Find Class Numbers in WorldCat…07.10.08

10 07 2008

Yesterday on Lorcan Dempsy’s blog was a very interesting post [http://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/001702.html] about a new and potentially very helpful service from OCLC called “Classify” [http://www.oclc.org/research/researchworks/classify/] which he says “…is a prototype service which provides a snapshot of what class numbers (DDC, LCC, NLM) have been assigned to works in WorldCat…”  It is worth investigating further.  Access, however, to Classify will likely be for OCLC members.  You can test it out here: http://deweyresearch.oclc.org/classify2/





New Gale eCatalog Using Nxtbook Flash Application…07.09.08

9 07 2008

I was really impressed by the new 2008 Gale General Catalog [http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/gale/generalcatalog08/] which is in an eCatalog format using Flash application Nxtbook.  Normally, I wouldn’t be excited about a new catalog or an “eCatalog” but with this new one from Gale, you can link to a specific page and send such links directly to various social networks.  Also, each entry in the page leads to Gale’s website for more information.  

I have passed along this information to our Web Marketing Manager who also seemed to sit up and take notice.  I’m sure other similar eCatalogs will be popping up using  Nxtbook.  





ALA “American Libraries in the 21st Century” Presentation…07.09.08

9 07 2008

When I can carve out 90 minutes of uninterrupted time at home and I’m in the proper mood, I plan on watching the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy‘s program titled “America’s Libraries in the 21st Century” (http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/blog/?p=510) which has been described by George from OCLC on the “It’s All Good” blog (http://scanblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/americas-libraries-in-21st-century.html):

“Three of the best thinkers and speakers in our business are on the podium, presenting in this order: Joan Frye Williams, Stephen Abram, and Jose-Marie Griffiths.

After a lively Q and A session, Dave Lankes concludes the program with one of his patented, soul-stirring, ‘Come to Dewey’ summations that would make Clarence Darrow or William Jennings Bryan proud…”





New Classification System–”Open Shelves” to Replace DDC?…07.09.08

9 07 2008

Since LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com/) is so popular among most of the power librarian bloggers and because “Open Shelves” is promoted as a replacement for the DDC which I currently use, I thought I would copy this interesting, explanatory post yesterday by David Bigwood from his “Catablog” (http://catalogablog.blogspot.com/2008/07/open-shelves-classification.html) :

“LibraryThing is building the Open Shelves Classification [http://www.librarything.com/thingology/2008/07/build-open-shelves-classification.php], a free, ‘humble,’ modern, open-source, crowd-sourced replacement for the Dewey Decimal System.

The vision. The Open Shelves Classification should be:

  • Free. Free both to use and to change, with all schedules and assignments in the public domain and easily accessible in bulk format. Nothing other than common consent will keep the project at LibraryThing. Indeed, success may well entail it leaving the site entirely.
  • Modern. The OSC should map to current mental models–knowing these will eventually change, but learning from the ways other systems have and haven’t grown, and hoping to remain useful for some decades, at least.
  • Humble. No system–and least of all a two-dimensional shelf order–can get at ‘reality.’ The goal should be to create a something limited and humble–a ‘pretty good’ system, a ‘mostly obvious’ system, even a ‘better than the rest’ system–that allows library patrons to browse a collection physically and with enjoyment.
  • Collaboratively written. The OSC itself should be written socially–slowly, with great care and testing–but socially. (I imagine doing this on the LibraryThing Wiki.)
  • Collaboriately assigned. As each level of OSC is proposed and ratified, members will be invited to catalog LibraryThing’s books according to it. (I imagine using LibraryThing’s fielded bibliographic wiki, Common Knowledge.)

I also favor:

  • Progressive development. I see members writing it ‘level-by-level’ (DDC’s classes, divisions, etc.), in a process of discussion, schedule proposals, adoption of a tentative schedule, collaborative assignment of a large number of books, statistical testing, more discussion, revision and ‘solidification.’
  • Public-library focus. LibraryThing members are not predominantly academics, and academic collections, being larger, are less likely to change to a new system. Also, academic collections mostly use the Library of Congress System, which is already in the public domain.
  • Statistical testing. To my knowledge, no classification system has ever been tested statistically as it was built. Yet there are various interesting ways of doing just that. For example, it would be good to see how a proposed shelf-order matches up against other systems, like DDC, LCC, LCSH and tagging. If a statistical cluster in one of these systems ends up dispersed in OSC, why?”

Mmmmmmmm…. Very interesting and much to consider.  More in the future on alternate classification systems…





Post-Op Pleasure Reading…07.09.08

9 07 2008

Physical recovery from surgery continues at a fast pace.  Despite discomfort, I am using the old “peg” leg as much as possible per the surgeon’s instructions.  Of course, I am resting more than normal so I’ve had additional time for personal pleasure reading.

Currently, I am reading “A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare 1599″ by James Shapiro which the publisher describes as taking “…on the ‘romantic myth’ of Shakespeare’s timelessness and universality, and through a scholarly and entertaining deep look into one year of Shakespeare’s life, gives the reader a wonderfully rich reading of what made up the time, the man, and the work. Shapiro’s understanding of the period is immense and passionate, and he opens up the methods and influences behind some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays…”  Although there are literally tons of books on Shakespeare and his writings, I am truly enjoying this book.

Additionally, I am speeding through “Into the wild” by Jon Krakauer.  The author expands on his research he did for an Outside magazine article in 1996 titled “Death of an Innocent” about the misadventures of Christopher Johnson McCandless who died seemingly mysteriously after hiking into the Alaska wilderness one spring with little provisions to spend the summer.





Collection Development at BHM Library Resources…07.08.08

8 07 2008

Collection Development is a general library term that encompasses anything a librarian or library does relating to the books and other materials owned by the library/organization. This involves selecting new items (selection), eliminating old, outdated, or damaged materials (weeding), conservation and preservation of damaged materials (maintenance), and promoting individual items, group materials or collections (using displays, programming, etc.).

We have no budget for the express purpose of purchasing new items for our collections.  Our collections do grow daily, however, in ways that are directed by 1) conscious collection development decisions in library resources and 2) by the general operating decisions of the various departments of our organization.

Of the large number of pre-publication and back-list product samples sent regularly to me for review by relevant publishers, a certain number are selected to be added to our collections.  Reviewing catalogs and other sources allows the librarian to make suggestions from time to time.  Special purchases of items in the department that contains library resources also end up in our collections permanently.

Added regularly to our collections are multiple copies of items chosen as gift premiums for our constituents.  Multiple copies of organization’s self-published/created products are added regularly as well.  Daily television programs in various media formats and editions along with related video segments are included in our archives as part of our general library resources.   

Some weeding was done during the initial inventory process when I first arrived.  Since that time, however, there has been no basis to allow weeding although the television department has suggested the need for weeding parts of our video archives.  Hopefully, if this is ever done it will be in conjunction with library resources.

As I have discussed previously, conservation and preservation issues have been brought to management attention more than once but to date there has been no perceived interest in these subjects other than talk.





Wall Street Journal Recognizes the Value of Information Professionals…07.08.08

8 07 2008

The following is the content of a Wall Street Journal full-page ad (http://www.sla.org/PDFs/WSJ-SLAad.pdf) that the paper ran for 4 days during the 2008 SLA convention:

The right people, information and decisions

Behind every good business decision is an information professional.

The competitive advantages you bring to the table are superior management strategies and decision-making capabilities. Both originate from information that’s been gathered, organized and shared throughout your enterprise by people called information professionals.

The relevant, high-quality business information you need to take action doesn’t turn up all by itself. Whether internally or externally produced, it’s the lifeblood of people who work for you: librarians, knowledge managers, chief information officers, Web developers, information brokers and researchers.

The Special Libraries Association, with support from Dow Jones Factiva, is behind your most profitable decisions. To learn how an SLA information professional can benefit your organization, visit www.sla.org today.





Atriuum ILS Up and Running Again…07.07.08

7 07 2008

Our Atriuum ILS software is up and running again on its server.  It was unavailable today until almost lunchtime today.  Everything seems to be working ok now.  I will have to try to get the IT people to tell me what the problem was for future reference.  Hopefully, they know and will share that information with me.  I was able to clean up some cataloging duties left over from last Thursday.





Library Work After the Holiday…07.07.08

7 07 2008

Well, I’m back in the office facing the typical Monday morning after a holiday workload and new challenges.  I am hobbling around with my bad leg still swollen and painful hoping full recovery will happen soon.  You don’t realize how much you need your “getaway sticks” until you have been immobilized.  I am behind on so many things at home so I am anticipating (fingers crossed/prayed up) that I can get somewhat back to normal by this coming weekend.

The day started at work with our ILS software down.  Despite contacting our IT people immediately and following up requesting an update, I have yet to receive a response.  Of course, library resources is not the top priority in the organizations so I must wait patiently for help.  From reading the trials and tribulations of other librarians, there is frequently a problem communicating with and getting things done by IT Departments.  The “down” time for me in the library resources area forces me to spend more time today on current product production project management crises.  There are new challenges daily getting things done by everyone involved in the process necessitating a cool head, persistence, and attention to details.





Librarian Job Longevity?…07.04.08

4 07 2008

While considering the holiday, I have also been ruminating on the prospects of my librarian/historian job’s longevity.  I would like the position to remain mine indefinitely and there are no outward signs–at the moment at least–to the contrary especially as long as I continue working satisfactorily in my dual role in product production project management.  I have held this position for over 2 1/2 years now.  However, if I have learned nothing else in life, I have learned that nothing lasts forever and it is best to be prepared for anything.  This is particularly true in our work life in these turbulent times of change.

Being prepared mentally for any possibility is paramount.  I have been on the receiving end of being let go without cause and without notice before and have since promised myself not be caught completely off guard again. 

Preparing in other ways means making taking the initiative when possible and making the extra effort necessary to do exemplary work now before anything negative should arise.  Additionally, keeping abreast of the general professional environment along with seeking regular professional development opportunities is wise and necessary.  It should go without saying that keeping out of debt and with as big of a financial cushion as possible is also imperative since prolonged unemployment between jobs is always a possibility. 

There’s not much more one can do so it is best to try to enjoy the present and make the most of what comes with the resources available.





Celebrating Independence, Interdependence, Diversity and Freedom…07.04.08

4 07 2008

Happy Independence Day!!!!!!!  I feel that I am greatly blessed to be an American. 

I do appreciate, however, all the other peoples and nations of the earth who are of equal value in my sight and that of our Creator—Remember Him?  

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”–preamble of the Declaration of Independence.

No country is perfect and I personally seek [in faith] for a “better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16).  As the Apostle Paul further related in the book of Romans: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…”

Religious faith is not usually a topic which I will address in this forum and I have not previously related my Christian beliefs nor do I plan to in the future.  It just came up in the context of my musings on this holiday.  Since professional librarians and the ALA publically promote diversity of all kinds, I would hope that a majority of my colleagues do not stereotype me or my fellow librarians of faith–any faith. 

Of course, I’m also happy to have a PAID DAY off of work today!





How Far Will Encyclopedia Britannica Dip Its Toes in the Wiki World?…07.04.08

3 07 2008

I have been meaning to bring up the fact that Britannica announced changes to become more like Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page] in June.  To survive, I doubt they had much choice.  How far they go remains to be seen and, of course, only time will tell.  The UK’s PC PRO (http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/204666/encyclopaedia-britannica-dips-toe-in-wiki-waters.html) reported on  June 8: “The encyclopaedia Britannica website is rolling out a new system allowing readers to potentially contribute to articles.

Britannica has long been a vocal critic of Wikipedia’s user-generated content, and has repeatedly attacked the accuracy of its articles. Unsurprisingly then, it is keen to stress that its new website will not be following the Wiki-model, describing it ‘as a collaborative process but not a democratic one.’

Indeed, under the new Britannica scheme those who wish to contribute will need to create a profile outlining their qualifications and expertise in the area they are commentating on. They will then be able to add comments to encyclopaedia entries, or write their own. This content will then be reviewed by the expert editors of the site, and if any of it is deemed worthy of inclusion, added to the main article with a credit.

Not that Britannica is expecting the site to suddenly become awash with reader comment, however: ‘At the new Britannica site [located online here: http://www.britannica.com/#tab=active~home%2Citems~home&title=Britannica%20Online%20Encyclopedia], we will welcome and facilitate the increased participation of our contributors, scholars, and regular users, but we will continue to accept all responsibility of what we write under our name. We are not abdicating our responsibility as publishers or burying it under the now-fashionable wisdom of the crowds.’…”





Wikipedia Now On Google Maps…07.03.08

3 07 2008

I have used online maps for a long time.  Initially, I liked MapQuest but quickly moved to Google Maps http://maps.google.com/ when it became available.  Although like my car’s GPS these online maps are not perfect, however, they generally are quite helpful.  They also continue to add interesting features.

I learned today that since May Wikipedia articles have been added to Google Maps. The Wikipedia tags on any Google map can be turned on by clicking on the ‘More’ button that was added to the top right hand corner of the map.  An unofficial Google Maps blog says, “When the Wikipedia tick box is selected small ‘W’ tags appear on the map where Wikipedia articles are available. Clicking on the ‘W’ tag will open an information window containing the Wikipedia article.” 








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