Engaging Senior Library Leadership in Web Strategy…01.31.10

31 01 2010

This is a good presentation that highlights an area of web strategy that is often overlooked to an organization’s detriment.

National Library of Medicine Receives Grant to Digitize Medical Heritage…01.31.10

31 01 2010

News from the National Library of Medicine:

“The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest medical library and an arm of the National Institutes of Health, has been named a partner in a multi-centered grant to digitize materials in the history of medicine.

As one of five libraries participating in the digital Medical Heritage Project, NLM will receive $360,000 over the next two months to digitize items from its historical medical collections. The initiative is funded by a $1.5 million award to the Open Knowledge Commons, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a universal digital library for democratic access to information, from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Approximately 30,000 volumes of public domain works will be digitized from the collections of some of the world’s leading medical libraries: NLM, the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University, the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University and the New York Public Library.

NLM will contribute digital versions of thousands of medical materials, including publications dating back to the 17th century…”

Recommended Reading This Weekend…01.30.10

30 01 2010

The Union victory at the battle for and siege of Vicksburg was a major turning point in the U.S. Civil War.  I decided to read this work by best-selling author Winston Groom after recently reading The State of Jones which gives a great background on Mississippi and the South before, during and after the “War Between the States” as some refer to this great tragedy in American history.  My curiosity about Vicksburg (old courthouse on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River above still remains) was piqued initially during a visit to the Vicksburg National Military Park a few years ago.  The park has reconstructed the remains of the ironclad Cairo.

Simple But Good Idea for Libraries…01.30.10

30 01 2010

The North Texas Regional Library System blog highlighted a simple but good idea used at the Arlington Public Library:

Arlington Public Library has a great idea – a neon ‘OPEN’ sign in the front window. In a time when hours have been cut and it is difficult to remember when libraries are open, a neon sign lets your users know just be driving by if the library is open. It is a great customer service function…”

Library Pioneers ‘Data Visualisation’ For Service Improvement…01.29.10

29 01 2010

Here is an interesting excerpt from vizLib pioneers data visualisation of library users:

“Mapping of library use in Leicestershire – as part of the 5-month vizLib project – could lead to a revolution in library service improvement. The vizLib project crunched through 2.5m Talis records to turn them into maps that can be morphed and animated. This has opened up new dimensions on user data, that don’t emerge from the numbers alone (though the short time-scale, and limited funding, mean that potential impacts on policy are not fully clear)…

vizLib has given us an unprecedented understanding of the way in which the people of Leicestershire use our library services,’ says Robert.

‘In a time when many public sector offerings are facing cut backs, research such as this is vital in ensuring that policy and funding support what citizens want, and that the standards of our provision remain high.’…”

NOTE: Leicestershire is holding a workshop on its libraries data visualisation project on 3 March at Loughborough University. For more information email: robert.radburn@leics.gov.uk

Folksonomies: In General and in Libraries…01.29.10

29 01 2010

There is also a good article from ZD which included the following useful chart:

Social Media Tool Kit for Librarians and Others…01.29.10

29 01 2010

Inc. Magazine has posted online their Social Media Tool Kit

NEW PBS Frontline Series – Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier…01.29.10

29 01 2010

Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier to begin Feb. 2, 2010 should be interesting.

Kobo E-Reader for iPad…10.28.10

28 01 2010

From The iPad is Finally Here and Kobo is Ready!

“With Kobo for iPad, you will be able to read all the books you have already purchased, buy and read new ones, highlight, annotate, and leverage some very exciting new features we have in store for our new apps.   I can’t wait for you to see Kobo for iPad when it ships in 60 days.  In fact, we are so excited about it – we’ve included some screen shots of Kobo for iPad…”

We also heard today that Apple recognizes that eBooks are going mainstream, and will launch an eBook store of their own.   This is further validation that eBooks are the future, and will no doubt be good for the entire market.   Welcome to eBooks Apple, and thank you for your support of the ePub standard!

We, of course, plan on building the best eReading service – apps, store, content – worldwide, in an open manner that gives consumers choice.  We believe consumers want choice on the content they consume, where they shop for content and the devices that they use…”   

Favika Tagging Using Controlled Vocabulary…01.28.10

28 01 2010

Favika: “A social bookmarking tool that allows you to tag webpages you want to remember using Wikipedia terms. This means that everybody uses the same names for tags from the world’s largest collection of knowledge.” 

Planet Cataloging says, “What Faviki calls ‘common tagging'” is a move away from free tagging to the use of a common vocabulary. Looks like the web is turning us all into catalogers :)”

Today is Data Privacy Day – Google Posts Core Privacy Principles…01.28.10

28 01 2010

Google Social Search Feature Now in Beta…01.28.10

28 01 2010

ReadWriteWeb reported about this today:

“Today Google Social Search is opening up in beta for all Google users. The experimental feature will surface search results from the social streams (bookmarks, blog posts, photos, etc.) of a user’s contacts on services like Gmail, Google Reader or Twitter.

Social Search still doesn’t have a super-prominent place in the Google Search results pages, but make no mistake: This is a very big step. What’s your portal to the Internet: Google’s algorithmic search of the Web at large, or your social circle of people on Facebook? That’s the battle for the future that Google and Facebook are waging now, and Google Social Search is a big move. Facebook search is nowhere near as good…”


28 01 2010

From A First Look at WestLawNext:

“Rumors have been circulating for some time now about Project Cobalt, Westlaw’s internal code name for its most significant overhaul since it moved to the Web. Now we know that Project Cobalt’s official name is WestlawNext and that West will formally introduce it to the public on Feb. 1 at LegalTech New York…” 

Apple iPad Unveiled by Steve Jobs…01.27.10

27 01 2010

According to PC Pro:

“The long wait is over: Steve Jobs has finally unveiled Apple’s spin on the slate PC, the Apple iPad.

The device is much larger than expected, with a screen closer in size to a laptop rather than an eBook: 9.7in to be precise. The screen uses IPS technology, which gives wider viewing angles and better colour accuracy than traditional (and cheaper) TN technology.

This should also make reading on-screen a more pleasant experience than with a laptop, due to greater apparent contrast. To take advantage, the New York Times has already announced a dedicated iPad app to bring the “essence” of a newspaper to the new device.

The iPad is powered by a 1GHz Apple A4 processor, which is likely to be based on ARM technology. In terms of wireless connections, the iPad includes 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1.

But mobility is the key focus. Weighing 680g and measuring half-an-inch thick, it also boasts ten hours battery life in use – and over a month in standby mode…”

Library Public Service in the 21st Century…01.27.10

27 01 2010

Google Partners with NOAA for New Ocean Visualizations…01.26.10

27 01 2010

Excerpted from Wired Science post Google Teams With NOAA to Make Better Ocean Visualizations:

“…NOAA will provide data from its various ocean-science programs and Google will build tools to visualize that information, the two organizations announced Tuesday. The deal extends a collaboration that began when Google built NOAA’s underwater topography into Google Earth. The two entities have continued to work together on other projects, such as incorporating satellite measurements on coral-reef bleaching.

The partnership will include porting more ocean depth, climate and other scientific data into Google Earth as well as providing online access to zoning and regulatory information near the coasts. NOAA outreach programs like Science on a Sphere and the Okeanos Explorer ship will also get some kind of Google makeover…”

Apple Tablet (combining netbook and e-reader) Imminent – Market Changer?…01.26.10

26 01 2010

WebSeer – a visualization of Google Suggest…01.26.10

26 01 2010

WebSeer: “Web Seer is a visualization of Google SuggestTry it live. …Is there a way to visualize people’s innermost thoughts? Google Suggest lets you see what others are asking when they search the web. From the existential to the mundane, the questions form a portrait of human curiosity. (Try it live now.)…”

The below shows Google suggestion comparisons for “librarian” vs “information specialist”, “knowledge worker”, and “information worker” – interesting results.

Using E-Books in Libraries…01.26.10

26 01 2010

Twitter Tools for Librarians and Others…01.26.10

26 01 2010

Excerpted from 111 Twitter Tools:

“…Information Gathering

  1. Tweetbeep: With Tweetbeep, you can set up alerts that will help you keep track of keywords on Twitter.
  2. @myflightinfo: Helps you stay updated on your flight’s status.
  3. Twitterverse: Check out archived timelines and tweets through Twitterverse.
  4. Twitscoop: Twitscoop shares what’s hot on Twitter at any given moment.
  5. Twitbuzz: Twitbuzz tracks the latest conversations as well as popular Twitter links.
  6. StrawPoll: Use StrawPoll to make sharing your opinion as easy as sending an @reply.
  7. Retweetist: This service ranks the hottest links being retweeted on Twitter.
  8. Monitter: Get real time keyword monitoring on Twitter from Monitter.
  9. TweetNews: TweetNews ranks stories based on the amount of related tweets.
  10. TwitterBuzz: TwitterBuzz will tell you what’s being linked to the most on Twitter.
  11. Tweetscan: Set up Tweetscan to make sure you don’t miss any @replies, and to get alerted of your search queries.
  12. Twitturly: Track URL’s as people are talking about them.
  13. Twitter Archives: Allows you to search archived tweets from up to a year or more…”

Much Anticipated Apple Tablet to Be Unveiled Wednesday…01.25.10

25 01 2010

Everyone in the media generally agrees that the Apple Tablet will be released on Wednesday, January 27, 2010.  There has been much anxiety and anticipation for the product.  You can read more from Wired’s Gadget Lab article What to Expect from Apple’s Tablet Unveiling.

New Library Automation Survey Results Released…01.25.10

25 01 2010

Marshall Breeding’s annual report Perceptions 2009: An International Survey of Library Automation is now available for review.  Here is an excerpt:

“…Most Positive Perceptions

This year a relatively new company, Biblionix, attracted the top satisfaction scores in the categories for ILS product, company, and support for Apollo. This ILS product, offered exclusively through software-as-a-service, targets small public libraries. The product has been implemented in only about 110 sites; 34 responded to the survey. The responses for Apollo were overwhelming positive, the only product to receive 9 as either the mode or median response. The comments offered gave effusive praise for the company, the product, the ease of migration, and for support. Biblionix sells Apollo exclusively to small public libraries. While the majority of its customers lie in its home state of Texas, but it has recently found many client libraries through the Midwest states of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas, as well as Tennessee, Florida and Maine (view map of Apollo sites).

The next tier of products received also received excellent satisfaction scores, with differences too small to justify assigning an ordered ranking: AGent Verso from Auto-Graphics, Polaris from Polaris Library Systems, Atriuum from Book Systems.

Polaris, which achieved top rankings in each catagory in the 2007 survey and in the ILS and Company categories in 2008, scored even higher this year, but this was not sufficient to rank over the chart-topping results given by Apollo libraries. AGent VERSO, supported by Auto-Graphics has shown improvement in each of the three years of the survey.

Two open source products OPALS supported by Media Flex and Koha when implemented Indepentently also fell within this tier of excellent perceptions in all categories.

Note: Koha received high marks only by those libraries that implemented it independently. Those that relied on LibLime as its support provider gave much more negative ratings.

Most Negative Perceptions

It’s not surprising that products that have been discontinued, such as Athena and Winnebago Spectrum, from Follett Software Company recieved the most negative scores. It’s a bit more interesting to see libraries give low satisfaction rankings to products that do receive ongoing development, though not positioned as the company’s flagship ILS. Both Horizon from SirsiDynix andVoyager from Ex Libris received low ILS satisfaction scores. Libraries using SirsiDynix Symphony, gave almost exactly the same rankings as Horizon.

The customer support ratings given for LibLime’s support for Koha were low, with only Winnebago Spectrum and Athena receiving worse marks. LibLime’s customer support and company ratings have steadily declined over the three years of the survey.

ILS Satisfaction

As noted, libraries using Apollo from Biblionix seem to be almost unanimously delighted with their ILS. The mean satisfaction score of 8.35 surpasss those reported in the current or previous editions of the survey. The libraries using Apollo tend to be small, and moving away from long outdated systems.

The next tier of products reflect quite high satisfaction, all with a mean score higher than 7.0. These include AGent Verso (7.83), Polaris (7.79) Koha — Independent (7.77), OPALS (7.66), Atriuum(7.53), Millennium (7.13), Library.Solution (7.06).

While the most positive and the most negative rankings tend to attract the most attention, the real story lies in those that fell between the extremes. hese are companies and products with generally solid support from their customer libraries, that reflect the realities of serving more complex organizations. EvergreenSpydusALEPH 500, and Virtua all fell into ILS satisfaction with mean scores between 7.13 and 6.29. Though there is room for improvement in the satisfaction ratings for each of these products, these systems serve larger libraries or consortia with more complex operational contexts where product bugs and support issues are more likely to surface…”

Here is are screenshots of my recent library’s Atriuum OPAC homepage:

Tough Times Call for Tougher Libraries…01.25.10

25 01 2010

Also a great resource – 13 Ways (and 147 Tools) to Help Your Library Save Money on Technology from Sarah Houghton-Jan, the Librarian in Black:

“…1. Free Software for Public & Staff Computers

  • Operating System (instead of Windows) – Ubuntu
  • Email/Calendar (instead of Outlook) – Google Calendar & Gmail
  • Web Browser (instead of IE) – FirefoxGoogle Chrome
  • Financial Software (instead of Quicken) – GNU Cash
  • Productivity Software (instead of Office) – Open Office
    • - word processing (like Word), spreadsheets (like Excel), presentations (like PowerPoint), databases (like Access), desktop publishing (like Publisher), and calculator (like, errr…, a calculator)
  • Image Editing (instead of PhotoShop) – GIMP
  • Typing Software – GNUTypist or TypeFaster Typing Tutor
  • CD writing – Brasero or InfraRecorder

2. Free Security Software Suite

3. Free Staff Scheduling Software

4. Free Team Meeting Tools

5. Free Tech Support Tools

  • Embedded chat (pop it in your intranet header) – Meebo Me chat widget
  • Voice or video chat (another way to contact tech support) – SkypeEkigaSightspeed, or Tokbox
  • Screencasts on the fly (for tech support to help you!) – Jing
  • Discussion board (create a staff board re: common tech issues) – Google Groups
  • Remote Support (tech support folks can log in & control/see your computer) – LogMeIn.com,TightVNC

6. Free Audio & Video Tools

7. Free eLearning Tools

8. Free “Contact Us” Tools to Communicate with Customers

9. Free Social Network & Extended Web Presence Tools

10. Free Website Management Tools

11. Free eBooks (need to cut your eBook budget? that’s ok – there are a lot of free eBooks out there.)

12. Free Articles

13. Miscellaneous Other Free Stuff

Also helpful from Sarah Houghton-Jan: Drupal Resources presentation.

The State of the Google Index…01.24.10

24 01 2010

Matt Cutts talks about what Google has done for users, web developers, and webmasters in the last yearThe State of the Index.

Arizona State University Libraries’ “Library One-Search”…01.24.10

24 01 2010

Check this out Library One Search:

Business Intelligence Resources Online…01.24.10

24 01 2010

Helpful information for future use from Marcus Zillman:


Creating a Tagging Classification Style…01.24.10

24 01 2010

This is a good excerpt of Tag, You’re It! Best Practices for Tagging on the Web from the January/February 2010 issue of Law Practice Magazine:

“…Given that it’s [tagging] a personal classification system, it naturally follows that there aren’t many fixed rules when it comes to tagging. Consequently, you’ll be given every opportunity to mess it up when selecting your keywords and phrases. Fortunately, that’s perfectly acceptable because it’s your use of language that needs to be represented. Still, to make your tags more user-friendly, you need to find ways to minimize the potential chaos. Here are some tips.

First and foremost, be consistent. Your primary objective is to be as consistent as possible in applying tag terms. Before choosing terms, try to resolve some of the fundamental language issues. For example, will you use singular or plural words? Will you restrict your tags to nouns, or are verbs okay? Will you use capitalization or stick to lowercase letters? Once you develop your initial set of terms and find a preferred style, stick to it!

Don’t replicate terms. Remember, tagging is designed to fill gaps where traditional categories leave off. When tagging a blog post, for example, try to find terms or phrases that are relevant but not mentioned in the body of the post. Avoid repeating the same terms, or applying different stems (e.g., “-ed” or “-ing”) to the same word.

Keep them short. Some tagging systems only allow single keywords, while others let you string together short phrases. When the latter is permitted, target two- to three-word phrases as a maximum. Any longer and you greatly diminish your chances of reapplying the same tag elsewhere.

Alter your numbers based on media vs. content. The number of tags you apply will depend on what you’re classifying. With images such as digital photos, for example, there are no written words to search, so reasonably, photo or image collections deserve to have a higher number of tag terms applied. As many as 10 tags may be appropriate to convey both the content and the concepts represented by the image. By comparison, when tagging content items or links, it’s best to limit the number of tags applied. This is particularly true for blog posts, so you don’t replicate terms already embedded within the item. Blog posts are often well represented with two to four tags in total.

Limit use of abbreviations. Make sure abbreviations or acronyms are recognizable by your intended audience (even if the audience is only you), and consider potential conflicts in how they’ll be applied. Law librarians, for example, might avoid the tag “ ALA,” since in addition to being an acronym for the American Library Association, it also represents the Association of Legal Administrators.

Tag trends, products, personal names and organizations. Think in terms of the “Five Ws”—who, what, when, where and why—or play 20 questions with yourself if you must, but identify the most recognizable elements when selecting terms.

Consider the search engines. Niche topics have smaller audiences, and more differentiated terminology. But hand in hand with that, any time tags are applied to a public Web collection, term aggregation pages will show up in the search results and become new entry points into the collection. Selecting tags based on your audience’s familiarity with the terms can be an important consideration in making your collection accessible.

Revisit your choices. Last but not least, a periodic review of your style never hurts. A good general strategy is to let tagging happen naturally for a couple of months and then look back at the terms you’ve applied. If you’ve got 13 items tagged as “snowboard accidents” and two as “snowboarding accidents,” your preferred style is clear—and a small intervention may be in order to make your tags consistent going forward.

“Community: its the new content”…01.24.10

24 01 2010

“In an age where content can be stored in many formats and carried around in our pockets, library services are shifting to accommodate new users…”


Inside, Outside, and Online: Building Your Library Community. Hill, Chrystie (Author) Jun 2009. 192 p. ALA Editions, paperback, $48.00. (9780838909874). 021.2. In this fluently written how-to manual, author Hill makes a potent case for community building as an essential form of service in public libraries, both for their survival and relevance and also for the needs of those Americans who find themselves ‘bowling alone.’ She outlines five steps in the process she recommends public libraries follow to build communities: assess, deliver, engage, iterate, and sustain. Explanation of the stages is clear, and examples from librarians in the field serve as dynamic illustrations. Although the book was researched and written before the current economic debacle caused library use to skyrocket, Hill’s model remains applicable—and provides libraries with a method for taking full advantage of increased foot traffic as well as connecting outside and online.” — Ann Welton, Booklist

Ubiquitous Cell Phones – One Third Of U.S. 11-Year-Olds Have Cellphones…01.23.10

23 01 2010

This is useful data from CHART OF THE DAY: One Third Of U.S. 11-Year-Olds Have Cellphones  to show people when they question the veracity of the need for mobile library services.

World’s Most Amazing Libraries…01.23.10

23 01 2010

Huffington Post slide show on The Most Amazing Libraries in the World


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