“The Purpose of Christmas”…12.18.08

18 12 2008

I normally don’t post book reviews though sometimes I will post an excerpt from one, usually one about a work I want to read or one that left a major impression.    

The Purpose of Christmas” by Pastor Rick Warren is a good read for anyone and particularly relevant at this time of year and at this time in history.  It will be of interest to many that Pastor Warren will be participating in President-Elect Obama’s inauguration ceremony January 20, 2009.  Here is Barnes & Nobel’s book review:

“If you stop to think about it, it is astounding that the simple, unassuming birth of a peasant baby boy more than two thousand years ago in the Middle East can today cause traffic jams every December in places like New York City, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro.

The night Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, a small group of poor shepherds were quietly tending their flocks of sheep in a nearby field, looking up at the stars. Nothing seemed any different from a thousand other nights. But what was about to happen would transform not only their lives but billions of other lives as well. The world would never be the same again.

Regardless of your background, religion, problems, or circumstances, Christmas really is the best news you could get. In his powerful yet compassionate voice, Rick Warren explains how God designed Christmas to meet your three deepest needs and how understanding and receiving  God’s three Christmas gifts to you will transform your life forever.

If you feel that Christmas has become nothing more than a source of emotional and financial stress – If somewhere along the line you lost “the reason for the season”…

You need to hear this powerful little book!

New ALA Survey Results on Retiring Librarians…12.17.08

17 12 2008

New survey results from ALA [http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6623615.html?rssid=191] on retiring librarians as reported in Library Jounal (©2008 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.):


F M Retiring in 10 years

ALA total

80% 18% 22%
AASL 91% 8% 31%
ACRL 73% 25% 23%
ALCTS 75% 23% 23%
ALSC 93% 6% 21%
ASCLA  79% 19% 32%
LAMA 75% 23% 31%
LITA  69% 28% 21%
PLA 83% 16% 27%
RUSA  76% 22% 20%
YALSA 91% 9% 19%

$96 Million New High School in Town With No Public Library…12.17.08

17 12 2008

There must be something wrong with this picture or is it just me? Maybe it’s because I’m a librarian.

Anyway, the town in which I live has no public library and, of course, high property taxes–much of it for the local ISD.  There are small public libraries within 5-10 miles, however, which can be used if you purchase an annual non-resident library card or get a TexShare card which you can get if you can find a library that will let you have a library card.  

Meanwhile, the independent school district which includes our town is building a massive new high school in our town.  Here is the description of this 21st century marvel that will open in 2009 as described by the Fort Worth Star Telegram [http://www.star-telegram.com/189/story/1064645.html] :

“…The crescent-shaped academic building’s classrooms will be illuminated with natural light, and from the third floor, students will be able to see Lake Grapevine. The curved building was designed to feel less institutional and to take advantage of the terrain…

Voters agreed in 2005 to earmark about $96 million of a $224.5 million bond program to build the school and relieve crowding at Northwest High School in far north Fort Worth…

The 504,000-square-foot campus will have about 150 classrooms. The building includes a performing-arts center, a two-story library, a greenhouse, a student union, a courtyard, an 800-seat auditorium and a 750-seat food-court cafeteria. Vendors will include Subway and Pizza Hut, McCreary said.

Athletic facilities will include four practice fields, eight regulation tennis courts, competition baseball and softball fields, an indoor activity center, two weight rooms and three gyms, including a competition gym seating 1,400…”

Looking at the physical facilities alone, it is apparent that the emphasis/priority in this adolescent megaplex is more “fun and games” than academic prowess despite propaganda to the contrary.

I wonder if they’ll let adult area residents use their “two-story library” facilities and resources that we paid for after school hours… Mmmmm… Good luck with that!

ALA Accredited MLS & Graduate Certificates “On the Cheap”…12.17.08

17 12 2008

VERY reasonably priced graduate courses are available with in-state tuition rates for online students regardless of geographic location at Wayne State University.  Check it out:

“… We are the top-ranked ALA-accredited Library and Information Science program that caters solely to master’s students. Our program is well-known for training tech-savvy graduates prepared to work in diverse library and information science environments. In addition, our tuition costs are among the lowest nationwide.

Our fully-online programs include:

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)…
Graduate Certificate in Information Management for Librarians: this 15-hour (5 course) certificate focuses on the tools needed to use technology efficiently and effectively in gathering, storing, and disseminating information.
Graduate Certificate in Records and Information Management (RIM): this 15-hour (5 course) certificate provides professional education to individuals wishing to successfully manage records and information within public and private sector organizations…”

For details: www.lisp.wayne.edu

Year One Report on “Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access” Released…12.17.08

17 12 2008

From Lorcan Dempsey‘s post today “Sustaining the digital investment“:

“The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access was launched last year by the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the Library of Congress, JISC, CLIR, and NARA…

After considerable consultation, the Task Force has produced its interim year one report [pdf]. From the summary …

There is no general agreement, however, about who is responsible and who should pay for the access to, and preservation of, valuable present and future digital information. Creating sustainable economic models for digital access and preservation is a major challenge for all sectors, and the focus of investigation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. …

… During 2008, as the Task Force heard testimony from a broad spectrum of institutions and enterprises with deep experience in digital access and preservation, two things became clear: First, the problem is urgent. Access to data tomorrow requires decisions concerning preservation today. Imagine future biological research without a long-term strategy to preserve the Protein Data Bank (PDB), a digital collection that drives new insights into human systems and drug therapies for disease, and represents an investment of 100 billion dollars in research funding over the last 37 years. Decisions about the future of the PDB and other digital reference collections — how they will be migrated to future information technologies without interruption, what kind of infrastructure will protect their digital content against damage and loss of data, and how such efforts will be supported — must be made now to drive future innovation.

Second, the difficulty in identifying appropriate economic models is not just a matter of finding funding or setting a price. In many institutions and enterprises, systemic challenges create barriers for sustainable digital access and preservation. [Sustaining the digital investment: issues and challenges of economically sustainable digital preservation pdf]“

LIS News Searching for New Librarian Blogs Worth Monitoring in 2009…12.17.08

17 12 2008

It will be interesting to see the choices– if there are any–of new “must read” librarian blogs that get recommended to be monitored on the list being compiled as a result of the LIS News posting [http://www.lisnews.org/] yesterday:

“...2009 is almost here and we could use some help finishing up out 10 Blogs To Read in 2009 list. This year we’ll have 2 lists, one for librarian/library blogs, and one for everything else. We started voting Last Month, but the list is not even close to being finished.

What blogs do you read every day?
What blogs help you learn?
What blogs keep you informed?
What blogs make you laugh?
Who’s the best writer out there?

It might help to think of it this way: ‘I read many others, but these are the blogs that read even when time is short’

…looking for input from as many people as possible so the final list doesn’t miss anyone new….”

Free Firefox Add-On to Add Search Cloudlet to Google and Yahoo Searches…12.17.08

17 12 2008


A new LifeHacker post [http://lifehacker.com/5112153/search-cloudlet-reveals-the-words-you-should-be-searching-with] today can be helpful for Firefox browser users doing Google and Yahoo searches:

“Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox):  Search Cloudlet adds a click-on tag cloud to your Google and Yahoo searches, helping you find deep-seated terms and phrases and refine your results, as you’ll see below.

The free add-on, developed by the International Software and Productivity Engineering Institute, can adjust the number of keyword results you see below each search, and automatically re-searches as you click to add them in. Search Cloudlet ends up being pretty handy for searches where you don’t quite know what you’re looking for—because if you didn’t, say, know what the big story about Macworld was, hitting the large-sized ‘Jobs’ and then ‘Keynote’ would deliver the goods in the search results…”

Get it here: Search Cloudlet [via Webware]

“Libraries of the Future” by Futurist Thomas Frey …12.17.08

17 12 2008

Here is an excerpt of  the recent “Libraries of the Future” post by Thomas Frey, Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute [http://www.futuristspeaker.com/2008/11/libraries-of-the-future/#more-99]: 

“…Organic Alignment: Libraries are judged by their overall relevancy to the people in their constituency. Much like Google’s approach to calculating the relevancy of search results to individual search queries, libraries need to continually assess how relevant the features and functions they provide are to the people in their community.

Done correctly as an ongoing process, organic alignment will enable libraries to shift resources, add and subtract elements, and focus on the primary needs of their people at any given moment.

The Library Experience: An experience involves a personal encounterd, affecting more than one of our senses. As a way to measure relevance, people spend time rating their experiences.

How do we take words on a page, books on a shelf, or digitized bits on a memory stick and create information that has impact? Another way of asking this is, how do we create informational experiences that are entertaining, timely, pertinent, and fun, and at the same time, meaningful and relevant to our lives?

Gone are the days of libraries being nothing more than a ‘center of information’. Libraries now find themselves focusing on warm, inviting atmospheres, soft comfortable chairs, in-store coffee shops, and much more.

Library as a Place vs. Library as a Service: Libraries need to be both physical and virtual, but the physical location today adds a higher level of relevance to a greater number of people.

It’s important to understand the value of ‘place’. Libraries are a gathering place, a source of intellectual spontaneity, a safe haven for creative ideas, and are a place of solitude and support. These are just some of the features that we will have difficulty replicating online.

Business Colonies: The Internet is putting powerful business tools into the hands of individuals. Consequently the size of business units are getting smaller, to the point where many people are operating ‘empires of one’ – one-person businesses with far reaching influence.

In the future, business colonies as groupings of small businesses, will form around specific themes (i.e. gamer colonies, video colonies, biotech colonies, etc). Colonies will develop around shared resources where expensive equipment and facilities are easily accessible, and libraries will become an essential focal point of activity…

libraries need to expand their technical offerings into the tools of production. These tools will allow visitors to transition from readers to writers, from listeners to composers, from television watchers to television producers.

Here are some examples of new library functions:

  • Podcast Studios – Audio capture and audio editing stations will enable beginners to create podcasts and post them online.
  • Vidcast Studios – The video version of podcasting with video capture and video editing stations. These studios will create their own center of gravity, attracting a wide spectrum of creative people who hope to bring their ideas come to life.
  • Virtual World Stations – With over 400 companies competing with virtual worlds such as Second Life, these emerging alternate realities are where future business will be conducted.
  • Gamer Stations – Even though some elitists still think games are a parasite sucking the life out of our children’s brains, much learning happens inside these games, and it is a cultural phenomenon that we need to nurture.
  • Fitness Centers – Exercise and learning have much in common, and will be a good fit in a library. People frequently read magazines and listen to audio books while working out.
  • Other Resources – Some libraries will include art studios, drama studios, band practice room, mini theaters, and even mini-planetariums.

One way to think about the library of the future is that it will be home to highly relevant information experiences, where great ideas happen, and people have the tools and facilities to act on their ideas.”

Library 2.0 Gang Look Forward to 2009…12.17.08

17 12 2008

The Library 2.0 Gang posted this show [http://librarygang.talis.com/2008/12/17/library-20-gang-1208-a-look-forward-in-to-2009/] today:

“…In this month’s show Talin Bingham, Carl Grant, Nicole Engard and John Blyberg congregate around the virtual log fire and exchange their views on the significant events for libraries, and the technologies that influence them, that occurred in 2008.  From new commercial product releases and the ongoing march of Open Source, to issues around openness and licensing, it has been a significant time.

Drawing on the themes that have emerged over the last twelve months the gang then speculates on what will be grabbing our attention and influencing our world in 2009, which could prove to be even more significant.

 The Library 2.0 Gang December 2008 [00:53:49m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download
Creative Commons License

BoingBoing News: “Google Book Search’s embedded book previewer”…12.17.08

17 12 2008

BoingBoing reports [http://www.boingboing.net/2008/12/16/google-book-searchs.html]:

Frances from Google Book Search writes in with news of their embedded book previewer:

It allows people to programatically search, access, and preview books digitized as part of Book Search. For an example of the viewport in the wild, here’s the Book Search iGoogle gadget that incorporates the previewer. Just install it on your iGoogle page and then click on a book to see a preview. I haven’t seen a lot of cool uses of the previewer yet (which is why I’m pinging you), but I think there is potential for it. For example, I want to see someone annotate a bunch of books (maybe make an app engine app that lets people do this generically?) and then allow users to navigate around the book based on the comments – imagine the potential for collaborative reading or interpretation of a text. Using the API you can move forward or back in a book, zoom in or out, show the current page number, jump to a page, or search within the book.

The New “Inbox”-Social Networks…12.16.08

16 12 2008

No surprises here in this excerpt from SearchEngineWatch’s post “Will Social Networks Become the New Inbox?” [http://searchenginewatch.com/3632099 article]

“The ‘killer app’ of the first part of the Internet boom was e-mail. Then came e-commerce, e-care, search, music, video, and now social media. E-mail has held on through the years as arguably the king of the Internet, used by the old and the young alike. However, the new inbox is shifting toward social media…

E-mail isn’t entirely going away, it just may not be the first means of digital communication in a Socialnomic world. Foremost, the messaging is much easier to manage within social media versus e-mail because it acts like a real conversation among friends…

Whereas e-mail functions in a non-fluid manner, open conversations within social media have an easier flow to them and replicate a normal conversation. Also, the conversational content is broken down into bit-sized chunks and are associated into more easily recognized compartments rather than just a long and daunting slew of 45 e-mails that you need to wade through systematically.

‘Kids today prefer one to many communication; e-mail to them is antiquated,’ said Bill Tancer, Hitwise general manager, global research…

‘Are you on Facebook?’ is the new ‘can I get your phone number?’ The most underlying factor for this new inbox may be in the seismic shift in the way information is exchanged among people. Let’s take a quick look at the evolution in dating over the past 10 years. First, people used to give out their home phone number. Then people began to give out their e-mail instead of their home phone number…

Just as people use Google as a verb — Google it — they’re starting to use phrases like ‘Facebook Me.’ People are no longer exchanging e-mails; they’re exchanging social media information. In many instances, they will never get this e-mail address. If they desire this type of communication, the social networks have inboxes of their own that replicate and replace e-mail…

many companies fail to recognize this and still try and cram e-mails into their database when these users want to be communicated through different ways.”

YouTube “12 Days of Web 2.0 Christmas”…12.16.08

16 12 2008

Personal Responsibility and the Librarian…12.16.08

16 12 2008

I thought the following excerpt of a post by Ed Batista [http://www.edbatista.com/2008/08/trium.html]  was an extremely relevant reminder to librarians, libraries and any organization, especially in these trying times.  The graphic says it all.

“I’ve written twice before about valuable lessons I’ve learned from people at the Trium Group, a management consulting firm with an unusually strong grasp of the interpersonal factors that contribute to high performance.  And in keeping with their understanding of the dynamic relationship between individual actions and organizational strategy, Trium has a compelling perspective on the meaning of responsibility.

I was first introduced to Trium’s thinking on the topic last year by my Stanford colleague Sharon Richmond, who has a copy of the graphic below pinned up outside her office door.  (I’ve taken the liberty of creating a web-friendly version, and I hope the friendly people at Trium see this as a fair use that promotes their brilliant thinking.)


It’s all too easy–and even encouraged, in some organizational cultures–to focus on our lack of choice, our frustration, our powerlessness in the face of forces beyond our control.  But as Trium and Pfeffer make clear, we always have the power to choose how we interpret a given situation and the mindset we adopt in response.

This isn’t to suggest that we should always make the best of bad situations–there are times in life when we truly are victims of circumstance, and trying to hold ourselves responsible is counterproductive.  But in almost all professional situations we can choose to adopt a responsible mindset or a victim mindset–and that choice will have a significant effect on our ability to contribute to a desirable outcome.”

OCLC Logos Representing Policy Changes…12.16.08

16 12 2008

Here are some interesting new logo designs for OCLC from the Thingology blog [http://www.librarything.com/thingology/index.php] which speak volumes:






Developing the Reference Extract Project…12.16.08

16 12 2008

Here is an excerpt of a post on Weibel Lines [http://weibel-lines.typepad.com/weibelines/on the progress of the Reference Extract Project of which we have heard recently:

The MacArthur Foundation, among whose fundable ‘causes’ is credibility in online information, is funding the start up costs of the Reference Extract project, that the New York Times characterized as “Google if built by librarians”.  Michael Eisenberg, emeritus Dean of the UW iSchool, is leading this effort involving David Lankes of Syracuse University, and a team at OCLC led by Jeff Penka.

I spent a day last week among a dozen or so invited advisors brainstorming the direction and development of this system.  The group included librarians, technologists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and researchers, and the diversity of their reflections mirrored the variety of their backgrounds. The effort is intended to augment, rather than displace, search capacity on the open Web, adding the credibility of librarianship to the mix of ‘special sauces’ that distinguish commercial search engine relevance ranking today

Librarians enjoy a degree of public trust that is rare among any group of professionals.  As is evident in the OCLC report Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources, this trust translates to a brand equity that can be captured in a single word: books. The promise of RefEx is, in part, to extend the brand equity of physical information formats (books) to digital information credibility on the Web.  No single project will accomplish this, however well it succeeds.  But to fail to effect this transformation over time is to allow decay of public trust in proportion to the decline of the impact of print relative to digital systems. So, the value proposition for imbuing online information with greater ‘credibility ‘ is to convert the brand-equity of traditional book-bound trust into its digital equivalent – a brand-promise for managed, evaluated information stores that can be counted upon to meet needs when just-good-enough… isn’t.  This is a  promise librarians must keep.”

Wikipedia Problem Highlighted By Journalist Incident…12.15.08

15 12 2008

Since I posted on the subject of Wikipedia’s veracity earlier today, I thought it would be relevant to post an excerpt from a commentary today on WorldNetDaily by publisher Joseph Farah entitled “Wikipedia lies, slander continue” [http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=83640] below.  Whether or not you agee with his politics, etc., it is important to point out this example of abuse, etc. :


“‘Joseph Francis Farah is an Evangelical Christian American journalist and noted homosexual of Lebanese and Syrian heritage.’the first line of my bio in Wikipedia

…Within an hour of the posting of this column, Wikipedia pulled the defamatory accusation that Farah is ‘a noted homosexual’ from its bio. Later, most of the bio was pulled. However, the cached version still remains…”

This may not seem important because the false statement was taken down relatively quickly but comments once given can do irreparable damage.  Mere words, wheter accurate or not, can destroy someone’s life and reputation.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” 

Library Prognostications for 2009…12.15.08

15 12 2008

For those concerned about the library environment in the coming year, check out LibGig’s post today “Forecasts and Predictions for 2009″ [http://www.libgig.com/forecasts] excerpted here:

“It’s that time of year to examine the state of librarianship as we enter the new year. LibGig talked to three people out of many polled to determine the prognostications and potential revelations of what will be next year: one academic librarian, one third-party recruiter and one human resources director…

Read the complete post for “the thoughts and forecasts from three different points of view…”

Latest Pew Report on the Future of the Internet…12.15.08

15 12 2008

Stephen Abram has a concise review on his Stephen’s Lighthouse blog [http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com/archives/2008/12/a_big_pew_forec.html] of the lastest Pew survey results [http://www.pewinternet.org/press_release.asp?r=311] relevant to us all on forecasting the future of the Internet which is excerpted here:

“…A survey of internet leaders, activists and analysts shows they expect major tech advances as the phone becomes a primary device for online access, voice-recognition improves, artificial and virtual reality become more embedded in everyday life, and the architecture of the internet itself improves.

They disagree about whether this will lead to more social tolerance, more forgiving human relations, or better home lives.

Here are the key findings on the survey of experts by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that asked respondents to assess predictions about technology and its roles in the year 2020:

The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people in the world in 2020.

The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.

Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.

Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing arms race, with the crackers who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.

The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.

Next-generation engineering of the network to improve the current internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch…

More elaborations about the evolution of intellectual property law and copyright protection can be found here

More elaborations about the evolution of privacy, transparency, integrity and forgiveness can be found here

More elaborations about the evolution of augmented reality and virtual reality can be found here

More elaborations about the evolution of the internet’s user interface can be found here

More elaborations about the evolution of the internet’s architecture can be found here

More elaborations about the evolution of the internet’s impact on work and leisure can be found here

Why is Search Engine Optimization Important to Librarians?…12.15.08

15 12 2008

Lorcan Dempsey‘s post from Thursday “SEO” [http://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/001836.html] which is excerpted here draws attention to the increasing importance of search engine optimization for libraries and librarians:

“…I have mentioned SEO (Search Engine Optimization) a few times as an increasingly important area of interest for librarians. However, as I have suggested, I come across resistance on the grounds that this is some sort of base or mendacious activity. We are very interested in interoperability, however, and for this reason it may be that Search Engine Interoperability is a more palatable expression. In this case interoperability means managing resources in ways which promote effective crawling, indexing and ranking by search engines. A reasonable goal, given the importance of search engines in the lives of library users.

Anyway, I repeat these points prompted by a post by Tony Hirst on the topic.

What does information literacy mean in the age of web search engines? I’ve been arguing for some time (e.g. in The Library Flip) that one of the core skills going forward for those information professionals who “help people find stuff” is going to be SEO – search engine optimisation. Why? Because increasingly people are attuned to searching for “stuff” using a web search engine (you know who I’m talking about…;-); and if your “stuff” doesn’t appear near the top of the organic results listing (or in the paid for links) for a particular query, it might as well not exist… [Revisiting the Library Flip - Why Librarians Need to Know About SEO « OUseful.Info, the blog…]

It is useful to think about the library website in this context. It is also important for materials which are unique to an institution/library: archival collections, institutional repositories, etc. It is also interesting to think about subject or other liaisons, or specialist library services, or advisory/reference materials…”

Sustaining Library 2.0 Technologies…12.15.08

15 12 2008

Here is a good new presentation worth the time reviewing from the Librarian in Black (Sarah Houghton-Jan) on using, planning and maintaining Library 2.0 tools in libraries entitled “Sustainable Technology in a 2.0 World“:

Sustainable Technology in a 2.0 World (2.4MB PDF)  by Sarah Houghton-Jan

Librarians and “Wikipedia Angst”…12.15.08

15 12 2008

In the January “Cites and Insights: 9, Number 1 2009” [http://citesandinsights.info/v9i1b.htm], there are some interesting comments about Wikipedia and its growing acceptance by Walt Crawford as excerpted here: 

“It’s been a while since we discussed Wikipedia, its competitors and structure. I had four clusters of wiki-related items to discuss—items about Wikipedia itself, Wikia Search and other Wikia stuff, Knol and Citizendium. Now that I’ve gone through Wikipedia items, I see the rest will have to wait (and Knol might or might not be worth discussing in a few more months)…

His closing comments:

“…Once again, the felt need to elaborate overwhelms the source material—one good reason I shouldn’t be a Wikipedian. If some of you are saying “Why does Walt hate Wikipedia so much?” I’m not sure how to respond. I don’t hate Wikipedia. I use it. But it needs criticism, openly and often—the more so given the way it works internally.

When it comes to notability, I’d tend to be an inclusionist—for example, if 2.5 million articles are already acceptable in the English-language version, then wouldn’t (for example) inclusion in Who’s Who in America be enough to justify a biographical entry (unless the subject wants no part of it)? That is, after all, some level of prominence with verifiability from a trustworthy source.

Iris Jastram recently noted that ‘libloggers seem to have gotten bored with writing about Wikipedia some time ago.’ I think that’s true. I think it’s a little unfortunate. (Jastram nails it more broadly: ‘Libloggers are only a sliver of the profession, and it’s a sliver that gets bored with some topics very easily.’) She found that ‘Wikipedia Angst‘ was out in force at a conference she attended and wondered whether it’s glib to say ‘we should just get over it already?’ She hasn’t decided. Personally, I think ‘get over it’ is always an unfortunate response—and ‘getting over’ the manifest and possibly growing problems with Wikipedia would be as unfortunate as it would be to obsess over Wikipediaor demand people ignore it entirely.

Two websites attempt to deal with ‘authority’ in Wikipedia algorithmically. Wikiscanner (wikiscanner.virgil.gr) looks for self-interested edits; at this writing, it’s between versions. The other, WikiTrust (trust.cse.ucsc.edu/), shows the ‘computed trust’ of an article, coloring the background of articles depending on ‘trust.’ WikiTrust can also be added to other MediaWiki wikis to show ‘trust.’ The algorithm for trust is interesting:

First, we compute the reputation of each author by analyzing the author’s contributions. When an author makes a contribution that is preserved in subsequent edits, the author gains reputation. When an author makes a contribution that is undone or reverted quickly, the author loses reputation.

The trust value of a new word is proportional to the reputation of its author. When subsequent authors edit the page, words that are left unchanged gain trust: by leaving them there, the authors implicitly agree with them. Words closer to the edit gain more trust, as the author of the edit is likely to have paid more attention to them. In contrast, text that has been rearranged (new text, text at the border of cut-and-paste, etc) has again a reputation proportional to the author of the edit.

There’s a certain circularity to this, but it’s nonetheless intriguing. Not that either tool can or should settle the maze of issues surroundingWikipedia’s stature—not its usefulness but, in the end, its reliability.”

Library Value and Quantifying ROI…12.13.08

13 12 2008

Stephen Abram has posted [http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com/] the following interesting, thought-provoking, and useful information about a new study demonstrating how to quantify the value of a library (academic library in this case)–something that would be good, if possible, for all libraries:

“I’ve written before about the paucity of good ROI studies on the value of academic libraries. Therefore I was happy to see this new study published in LIBER Quarterly:

The Library as Strategic Investment: Results of the Illinois Return on Investment Study
Paula T. Kaufman, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


University administrators are asking library directors to demonstrate their library’s value to the institution in easily articulated quantitative terms that focus on outputs rather than on traditionally reported input measures. This paper reports on a study undertaken at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that sought to measure the return on the university’s investment in its library. The study sought to develop a quantitative measure that recognizes the library’s value in supporting the university’s strategic goals, using grant income generated by faculty using library materials. It also sought to confirm the benefits of using electronic resources and the resulting impact on productivity over a 10-year period. The results of this study, which is believed to be the first of its kind, represent only one piece of the answer to the challenge of representing the university’s total return from its investment in its library.’

Sample ROI calculations included:

‘More than 78% of tenure-system faculty who have grants used citations to the scholarly literature in their proposals.

Over 50% of grants awarded to the campus came from proposals that included citations to materials accessed through the library.

The average grant income at Illinois is approximately $64,000.

Multiply these 3 numbers to calculate the average grant income generated through the use of the library of just over $25,000.

Multiply this average amount of grant income by the number of grants expended in 2006 at Illinois and divide that by the total library budget to arrive at a return on investment of $4.38 for every dollar invested in the library.’…”

Marketing Tool for Public Libraries…12.13.08

13 12 2008

I liked the new product I found out about on a PLA blog post below by Kathleeen Hughes [http://plablog.org/2008/12/smartest-card-license-plate-frame-available-at-plas-online-store.html] which seems like a great public library marketing tool if enough of them got out in a communitiy and not just a cute vanity item for librarians.  It seems like it would be worthwhile buying a lot of them, give them away for FREE, and encouraging patrons, librarians and their families to actually use them.

Smartest Card License Plate Frame

Available at www.cafepress.com/librarystore 

Copyright “Gone Wild”…12.13.08

13 12 2008

Copyright madness is spreading.  Now India claims the Taj Mahal is copyrighted.  Read this post from BoingBoing [http://www.boingboing.net/2008/12/12/india-is-trying-to-b.html]:


(Stereoscope photo from 1906)

A wealthy film director is spending £40 million to build an exact replica of the Taj Mahal in Bangladesh, but Indian officials are trying to block its constructing, claiming the Taj Mahal, which was completed in 1653 is protected by copyright.

For their part, Bangladeshi officials are incensed by suggestions that the Taj Mahal – which was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and completed in 1653 – is protected by some sort of copyright.“I’m not sure what they are talking about,” one said. “Show me where it says that emulating a building like this can be illegal.”

To make his Taj, Mr Moni imported marble and granite from Italy and diamonds from Belgium to add to 160kg (350lb) of bronze. He hopes that his version of the mausoleum will attract tourists to Bangladesh, a country that is well off the beaten track for Western holidaymakers.

India is trying to block Bangladesh’s copycat Taj Mahal

U.S. News & World Report: Best Careers in 2009 Librarian…12.12.08

12 12 2008

Here is an excerpt for a post today entitled “Best Careers 2009: Librarian” [http://njculibrary.wordpress.com/about/] by the Congressman Frank J. Guarini Library Blog:

Yes, that is what U.S. News and World Report says. This year it profiled 30 careers; librarian was one of them. The article gives a brief summation of what a librarian is and a typical workday is outlined. Do not forget to look at the link for library school rankings. For one thing, it is a graduate degree, and for another thing, there are very few library school programs that are accredited by the American Library Association. In fact, New Jersey has only one program – Rutgers. If you have ever overheard librarians whispering about “cutter numbers” or other recondite phrases, you can always consult the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science(ODLIS). And let’s not forget the Library of Congress and its Library and Information Science: A Guide to Online Resources… “

Mmmmmmmm…I wonder about the accuracy of their information.

35 Beginner Social Media Tips…12.12.08

12 12 2008

Vator News has a lengthy post that may be helpful entitled “35 Tips for Getting Started With Social Media” [http://www.vator.tv/news/show/2008-12-08-35-tips-for-getting-started-with-social-media] which is excerpted here by The Running Librarian [http://ligissues.blogspot.com/]:

“…this list of 35 tips for getting started with Social Media. Some of my favourite tips…

  • “Find the top 50 blogs in your space, and subscribe to their RSS feeds in Google Reader. Consistently be on the lookout for new blogs, and the voices behind them.”
  • “Listen to what’s being said about you. Create Google alerts to monitor for positive or negative chatter.”
  • “Become an expert in your field. Try to align and surround yourself with the best tools, and people to accomplish this. It’s all about networking, networking and networking. Take it offline when permitting. Organize local social media meetups and tweetups. Make it an effort to attend trade shows when possible.”
  • “Be omnipresent on all the networks. I should be able to find out about your latest happenings, and or statuses if I am browsing your Facebook profile, Linked profile, Twitter or FriendFeed stream”…

“Why did you become a librarian? Why did you take your current position?”…12.12.08

12 12 2008

Recently, a professional colleague asked me in an interview: “Why did you become a librarian? Why did you take your current position?

In keeping with the original purpose of this blog and should anyone wish to know, here was my response:

I hadn’t consciously considered being a professional librarian for many years.  When I was a young man, I received a paraprofessional, associate’s degree (2-year degree) in Library Technical Assisting and worked part-time on various campuses of the community college as a library assistant.  Although unorthodox, the professional librarians were kind enough to allow me to participate in some librarian functions, including reference assistance.

For a while right after receiving the LTA degree, I worked as a library tech in an elementary school media center. Personal financial constraints and the offer of vastly higher wages immediately influenced me to take work outside the library profession.   I later received my bachelor’s degree with a double major several years later which propelled me into a senior management track in the non-profit organization where I worked and where I continued to prosper in many ways for 21 years.  During my tenure at this position, I acquired my MLS degree because I had the interest and opportunity to do so although I never thought I would actually be able to change careers or work as a full-time professional librarian.  I did put my librarianship interests and skills to use, however, for a couple of years as a volunteer, part-time, solo librarian at a private college.

An offer I could not resist to become the Vice-President of a successful, independent film company precipitated my first major career change and landed me with our northern neighbor, Canada.  The company unexpectedly reorganized a couple of years later and my position was eliminated. 

My wife and I ended up in Florida though various circumstances.  For three years, I worked at various jobs and tried to start a new career in different fields-even applying and interviewing for many public librarian positions.   I could never get past the initial in-person librarian interview stage, however.   It appeared to me that the 14-year gap between my MLS degree and my first attempt to secure a full-time librarian position, along with my apparent age and extensive management experience, was hindering anyone from giving me a chance.  It was particularly frustrating because I had spent considerable time and effort keeping up with the profession and had had a very long and successful non-library career…

Seemingly “out of the blue”, I received a call from a business associate from my experience with the non-profit saying that another larger non-profit organization would like to talk to me about a position.  I initially assumed it was an administrative management position.  To my surprise, they had reviewed a copy of my resume and noticed my many years of experience with  a similar non-profit AND that I had an MLS degree.  They wanted a “librarian/historian” to archive and catalog their library resources.  Eventually, I was hired and have had this full-time position for 3 years now.  The story continues…

The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian

Demonstrating Library Value and ROI…12.11.08

11 12 2008

Since everyone these days has to justify their existence, budgets, staff, etc. and this is particularly true for special libraries, here is an excerpt of an interesting post entitled “Library Value” [http://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/001834.html] from Lorcan Dempsey with specific emphasis on university libraries:

We are seeing more interest in demonstrating value. Here are two rather different items on this topic.

The first is an article on ROI in the current LIBER Quarterly by Paula Kaufman, Dean of Libraries at UIUC.

University administrators are asking library directors to demonstrate their library’s value to the institution in easily articulated quantitative terms that focus on outputs rather than on traditionally reported input measures. This paper reports on a study undertaken at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that sought to measure the return on the university’s investment in its library. The study sought to develop a quantitative measure that recognizes the library’s value in supporting the university’s strategic goals, using grant income generated by faculty using library materials. It also sought to confirm the benefits of using electronic resources and the resulting impact on productivity over a 10-year period. The results of this study, which is believed to be the first of its kind, represent only one piece of the answer to the challenge of representing the university’s total return from its investment in its library. [Liber Quarterly. The Library as Strategic Investment.]

…The second is a presentation [ppt] from last year’s INULS conference (Irish National and University Library Staff Conference). It is by John Wright from the University of Bangor in Wales. Bangor hit the headlines a few years ago as the University proposed major cuts in library services. The following extract was widely discussed.

‘the support…from the qualified subject librarians is hard to justify in value-for-money terms at a time when the process of literature searches is substantially de-skilled by online bibliographical resources.’

John Wright.. discussion is under four heads: 1. Demonstrating Value, 2. Perception and Aesthetics, 3. Collaboration, 4. Innovation.

‘Value for money’, as one of my colleagues suggested recently, seems a sterner expression than ROI.”

Libraries Offer FREE Relief in Tough Times…NBC Nightly News Story…12.11.08

11 12 2008

Watch this video from NBC News p:

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams – Libraries Offer Free Relief in Tough Times

Alma Mater Creates School of LIS…12.11.08

11 12 2008

Library Journal reported today [http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6621525.html?rssid=191]  on the growth of the LIS program at Wayne State University, my alma mater[1990]:

  • Huge enrollment growth
  • New concentrations and degrees a contributing factor
  • Top-rated program without doctoral degree

Citing growth in enrollment and the richness of offerings at the Library and Information Science Program at Wayne State University, Detroit, the university’s Board of Governors has approved the creation of a School of Library and Information Science, to open Spring/Summer 2009. It’s home is the Kresge library (pictured).

The LIS Program has grown from 125 students in 1987 to nearly 600 graduate students now enrolled.Kresge LibraryEnrollment growth was an important factor but it’s not the only one,” director Stephen T. Bajjaly told LJ. “On campus, it’s our overall size and complexity (including the number of concentrations, degrees and certificate programs we offer) when compared to other Schools.”

He noted that the program has more students than the Nursing school and nearly as many as the Engineering school—and awards the fourth-highest number of master’s degrees.

Growth coming
Bajjaly said that Wayne State has the highest rank among LIS programs that lack a doctoral component. ‘The discipline is anticipated to grow and develop new areas; the program will do so also,’ he added. ‘We currently offer five distinct degree and certificate programs and ten concentrations. New programs and areas under development are urban librarianship, fine arts and museum librarianship, and advanced library administration.’

The increased prominence and stature, both on campus and in the LIS discipline, Bajjaly predicted, ‘should have a positive effect on fundraising (and recruitment).’ While there are no current plans to offer an undergraduate program, it’s not out of the question, he said.

The Dean of University Libraries and the Library and Information Science Program, Dr. Sandra Yee, will continue to serve as dean of the new School.”

©2008 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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