Android vs. iPhone…09.22.10

22 09 2010

e-Learning Continues to Expand…09.22.10

22 09 2010

Things a Kindle 3 Can Do…09.22.10

22 09 2010

Since I will eventually get the new Kindle, I liked this which is excerpted from How to Do (Almost) Everything With a Kindle 3:

“…Q. Can the Kindle read PDFs?

A. Yes — and it actually handles them very well. You don’t need to email yourself copies; you can hook up your Kindle to your computer through a USB cable, mount the Kindle’s drive, and drag-and-drop.

One big suggestion. Just because of its screen size, viewing PDFs on the Kindle is much better if they’re oriented in portrait rather than landscape, and if they’re single-page documents rather than spreads (i.e., where a book is scanned/photocopied two pages at a time). Printed office documents, downloaded journal articles, maps, etc., all look great. They’re monochrome, obviously, but they read as well as an e-book. You can even highlight and annotate them just like you can Kindle books — that is, assuming they’re real text PDFs, not just bundled images.

Q. Can I read free/public-domain books on the Kindle?

A. Yes, and you should. Amazon “sells” a number of public-domain books for $0 through the Kindle store. You can also download public-domain books from Project Gutenberg and Google Books. In fact, that’s where a lot of Amazon’s free books come from.

At TeleRead, Kindle World blogger Andrys Basten points out that Project Gutenberg actually has a mobile version of its website where you can download Kindle-compatible e-books directly. Just fire up your Kindle’s web browser and go to

Virtually all mobile-optimized web sites look terrific on the Kindle’s web browser, and Project Gutenberg’s is no different. You can search or browse by author, title, subject, release date, or popularity, and download Kindle books with or without images included.

Select a book, scroll downwards (using the “next page” button allows you to scroll quickly), and select the “Kindle” version. (There are also HTML, EPUB, and TXT available, usually.) Your Kindle will show you a scary message, saying “Do you really want to download It will be available on your Home screen.” Don’t worry. “pg###” is just the Project Gutenberg internal title of the book. It will still show up on your Kindle by its proper book title. And it’s GOOD that the book will be available on your home screen; that’s where all of your other books are kept.

Q. Wait a minute, you just said something about Google Books. Can I read ePub files on the Kindle too?

A. It’s true: Google Books allows you to download public-domain books not in Kindle’s AZW or MOBI formats, but in the competing EPUB standard. But there are a couple of good ways to convert ePub files without DRM into Kindle-compatible formats.

If you are For Real about digging into e-books, I advise you to download the multi-platform e-book management app Calibre immediately. Among its other virtues (e-reader client, e-library manager) Calibre is an e-book-converting monster:



If you are like 90% of Kindle users, the important input formats in that list are EPUB — and the two comic-book formats CBZ and CBR. The important output formats are MOBI and PDF — either of which your Kindle can read without a problem.

What’s more, Calibre will sync these files to your Kindle. Mounting, dragging, and dropping are pretty easy already, but since the books are already in Calibre, this can make it even easier.

If you don’t want to bother with Calibre — for some people, the sheer scope of the application is overwhelming and even I haven’t tried everything it can do — there’s also RetroRead, a free site/service that converts EPUBs from Google Books to Kindle- and iOS-friendly formats.

Q. I don’t like using a USB cable, and some of these sites say they can send books to my Kindle wirelessly. Don’t I have to pay to have documents sent wirelessly to my Kindle?

A. You do have to pay Amazon to have non-Amazon docs converted and sent to your device if it’s over 3G. The key thing to avoid charges is to always sign up for services using your email address. If you do this, then your device will only add documents when it’s using Wi-Fi — and that’s free.

Q. What’s my username?

A. It’s often identical to the username of the email address that you use to sign in to Amazon. If you’re not sure, go to Amazon’s “Managing Your Kindle” page, which is a great resource for all of this.

Q. Can other people send things to my email address to spam me/make me pay for document delivery?

A. You have to authorize every user who can send a document to your Kindle. I’ve actually never used this to authorize a group of trusted friends to share and convert e-books, but that’s a great idea.

Q. How can I read blogs and websites on my Kindle?

A. The new web browser — based on WebKit, the same rendering engine as Safari and mobile Safari — is so much better than previous instances that usually you can use this to read blogs without any special conversion.

For some reason the web browser is still listed under the “Experimental” menu, but this thing is ready to go. Among friends, we suspect that Amazon doesn’t actually want to advertise how good the web experience is, because it’s on the hook for all the 3G data its users consume.

Again, I prefer the mobile versions of most websites to the standard ones; you don’t have to pan/zoom, but it’s not hard to bookmark your favorites. (Liberal use of bookmarks also saves you from repeat typing, which is improved but still not fantastic.) Mobile versions of text-heavy websites (like mobile Twitter, Instapaper, Google Reader, etc.) look and function the very best.

The other amazing improvement in the new Kindle browser is something called “Article Mode.” This is identical to the new “Reader” button in Safari, or the Readability bookmarklet. Basically, if you go to an ordinary web page, and it’s cluttered with images, ads, or laid out in a way that’s hard to read on your Kindle, click the “Menu” button and then “Article Mode.” Instantly the web page will be laid out in an easy-to-read text column, just like if you’d sent it to Instapaper.

Q. Instapaper? I love Instapaper!

A. Me too!

Q. How can I send web articles I save in Instapaper to my Kindle?

A. Ah. Well, you can navigate through the web interface, which is pretty good. Or, you can have Instapaper send articles to your Kindle device. Again, make sure you use your address to avoid getting dinged for 3G transmission charges. Now, instead of being in your browser, your Instapaper articles will be grouped with and formatted like Newspapers and Magazines. Instapaper’s Marco Arment has said that using the Kindle is his “favorite way to read content from Instapaper.” And that was on the janky old Kindle 2. Might a Kindle Instapaper app be in the works? Methinks quite possibly yes.

Q. I’d hate having to scroll through a long home screen. Can I sort my books, articles, PDFs, or whatever into folders?

A. Yes. They’re called “Collections.” From your “Home” screen, click the “Menu” button — there are a lot of keys on the keyboard, but “Menu,” “Home,” the directional keys, Return, Select, and the page turn buttons are your friends — and choose “Create New Collection.” Once you’ve created it, you can add/remove items, change how you sort through them — the works. Great way to group by kind, genre, category, or even levels of attention.

Q. How can I share books I read with my friends and family?

A. Ah. This is a sore spot, as Barnes and Noble’s Nook has promised some limited ability to lend out e-books. Kindle doesn’t really have that. However, there are some clever ways to get the same functionality.

First, you can share an Amazon account with another person and authorize both of your devices to download e-books purchased from that account. This is probably most obvious for families, who often buy from a single Amazon account anyways. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t do the same with a group of friends. The trouble is that each Kindle is tied to one account. So if you’re reading e-books in a group account, you’re only reading e-books in that group account.

With free books, it’s not a problem to share either. As I mentioned above, every user can authorize a number of e-mail addresses to send documents to their Kindle. This is a great way to share PDFs or free books you’ve converted in Calibre.

Q. I read a little bit in English, but my first language is German. Can I change the default menu/user-interface language?

A. Aha. As far as I can tell, definitely not on the Kindle itself. The only way you can change the “country” setting is by entering in an address on the web site. I think this is a huge disadvantage to the device, and shows some of the limitations in how Amazon thinks of its user base. Even in the United States, there are plenty of readers who would prefer to have their menu language displayed in Spanish, French, or other languages.

Q. Can I use Twitter on the Kindle?

A. Yes. Kindle’s 2.5 update added a feature where you could share passages or tweet about books. As for working with Twitter itself, again, I recommend the mobile site, New Twitter is translucent and beautiful in an ordinary web browser, but that beauty if totally lost on the Kindle…”

Coffee, tea, or e?…09.22.10

22 09 2010

Coffee, tea, or e?

Banned Books Week Highlight – William Tyndale’s English Bible…09.22.10

22 09 2010

As we approach ALA’s  Banned Books Week, here’s one example of many you probably won’t hear about:

“He is the most widely read English-language author in history, read by about 10,000 times more people than Chaucer himself, yet more than likely you won’t recognize his name: William Tyndale.

William Tyndale was a theologian and scholar born in North Nibley, England in 1494 and he died at Vilvoorden, Belgium in 1536. (The first date is only an approximation, no one is actually certain of the year he was born). Tyndale was strangled to death and burned at the stake for being the first person to publish the New Testament in Early Modern English. (Other scholars had translated the Bible into English before him, such as John Wycliffe, but Tyndale was the first to take advantage of Gutenberg’s new printing press and widely disseminate his translation.) At the time that Tyndale published his New Testament translation, it was a crime punishable by death, according to the Roman Catholic Church, and eventually he was hunted down and killed for fulfilling his goal of putting the Word of God into the hands of the common peopleTyndale endorsed the movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church and in his translation he included notes and comments that supported his Reformation views. Hence, when he finished his work it was immediately banned by the authorities…”

For more, read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs chapter on William Tyndale

Trade eBooks Sales Up 250% In July…09.22.10

22 09 2010

Trade eBooks Sales Up 250% In July

The Future of the Book…09.22.10

22 09 2010

2010 State of the Blogsphere…09.21.10

21 09 2010

New from TED: Where good ideas come from…09.21.10

21 09 2010

Oxford College’s Library of the 21st Century…09.21.10

21 09 2010

Library Reference in the Cloud…09.21.10

21 09 2010

Next Generation Textbook Technology Built on Apple Platform for the iPad…09.21.10

21 09 2010

Netflix Catches Librarians With Their Hands in the Cookie Jar…09.20.10

20 09 2010

From Fast Company:

“For some time now, academic librarians have been resorting to Netflix to plug shortages in their media holdings. In fact, they have been thoroughly above-board about it; even the distinguished journal Library Trends ran an article about ‘Netflix in an Academic Library’ last winter; author Ciara Healy wrote in the abstract that ‘Netflix turned out to be an excellent, cost-effective solution.’ The other week, an acquisitions librarian at Concordia College in New York blogged about the blessing of her institution’s double eight-disc-at-a-time subscription, which she wrote saved her library $3,000. Though one commenter wondered ‘how you got this past legal for your university,’ she responded that there had been ‘no legal repercussions.’

Whoops. Turns out Netflix isn’t actually cool with libraries using the service and doesn’t want early adopting librarians to be encouraging others to do so. Netflix doesn’t offer institutional subscriptions and expects its services to be limited to personal consumption. ‘We just don’t want to be pursuing libraries,’ Netflix’s vice president of corporate communications Steve Swasey told the Chronicle of Higher Education recently. ‘We appreciate libraries and we value them, but we expect that they follow the terms of agreement,’ he said, adding that Netflix ‘frowns upon’ the liberties taken by librarians.

So on one side we have librarians saying they are using the service, and don’t expect legal repercussions; and on the other side we have Netflix saying they know libraries are using the service, and won’t be suing. Maybe, then, the best course of action would have been for both sides to just follow the rule normally observed in libraries: Shhhhh!’

Government Website Usability Guide…09.20.10

20 09 2010

Government Usability Guide

Giving and Technology in the Online Universe…09.19.10

19 09 2010

Risks and Rewards Using Social Media…09.19.10

19 09 2010

From Jeremiah Owyang’s Matrix: Risks and Rewards of Social Business

Diversity – We Speak No Americano…09.19.10

19 09 2010

British Library’s 2020 Vision…09.17.10

17 09 2010

“The British Library is one of the greatest libraries in the world. The scope of our remit, the scale of our operations, the range of our services and the international importance of our collections are without equal.

2020 Vision is our 10-year vision, following 12 months of extensive and wide-ranging research and consultation. In today’s climate of significant technological change, it highlights what are likely to be the key trends and opportunities over the next decade, and indicates how we will develop as an organisation to increase access to the world’s knowledge base for our users. You can read and download the full document here [PDF, 460.21 KB]…”

Disintermediation, Ubiquity, Contextualization…09.17.10

17 09 2010

University of Michigan Digital Collections…09.17.10

17 09 2010

“The Digital Library Production Service (DLPS) was formed in 1996 to provide infrastructure for campus digital library collections, including both access systems and digitization services. DLPS is a unit of the University Library, and is part of its Library Information Technology Division. DLPS is also responsible for the Digital Library eXtension Service (DLXS) and host services for other academic institutions and non-profit organizations.

DLPS provides access to over 200 text, image, and finding aid collections that collectively provide access to over a million digital objects.”

User Interfaces Designed to Trick People…09.17.10

17 09 2010

The Varied Work of the “Digital Librarian”…09.17.10

17 09 2010

Excerpted from Digitization 101 post Digital “librarians” by Jill Hurst-Wahl:

“…So…you’re interested in digital libraries and are wondering if people really do the work that you want to do. Yes, there are indeed people working as digital librarians, although that may not be their title. They are working with electronic/digital information, helping to create products and services, talking to (and maybe working for) vendors, educating users, and shaping how we use information online. Here are a few people, etc. that come to my mind when I talk about opportunities. (These are in no particular order.)

  • Chadwick Seagraves — Library Technology Services Leader — This blog post talks about his recent job change.
  • Stephen Abram — Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Markets
  • Michael Habib — Product Manager
  • Stacey Greenwell — Head of the Information Commons
  • Vicky Reich — Director
  • Brewster Kahle — Digital Librarian
  • Nicole Engard — Director of Open Source Education
  • Jason Kucsma — Emerging Technologies Manager
  • David Lee King — Digital Branch & Services Manager
  • Ben Goldman — Digital Programs Archivist
  • ProQuest — This is one of many companies that are part of the information industry. Many hire librarians as product managers, sales and support staff, and product innovators.
  • Broadband access — There are technologies or initiatives that require digital librarians. Increasing broadband access to libraries is one of them…”


At 6:05 PM Blogger Kiyomi said…
From what I’ve heard EBSCO also tends to hire some librarians, although as you point out the job title is often different, (sales rep., customer service rep., technical support, etc.).
At 6:26 PM Blogger Jill Hurst-Wahl said…
Kiyomi, most of the library vendors do hire librarians, so it doesn’t surprise me that EBSCO has a few on staff.BTW I just saw that Maija McLaughlin has been promoted to Director of Digital Initiatives for her library.

At 11:37 AM Blogger Jill Hurst-Wahl said…
People in FriendFeed have suggested that the following people be added to the list:Gurdish Sandhu and Maureen Azubike
Ellyssa Kroski — Information Services Technologist
Michael Porter — Communications Manager
Jenny Levine — Internet Development Specialist & Strategy Guide

At 11:39 AM Blogger Jill Hurst-Wahl said…
Also Dorothea Salo — Digital Repository Librarian
At 11:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said…
Several people at, including myself, have the MLS or MLIS.’s core business is digitizing content of value to our subscribers held by libraries and other repositories. So my colleagues and I are involved in identifying what content repositories have, and then negotiating with those repositories.
At 12:53 PM Blogger Gary McGath said…
At Harvard, the term tends to be applied to technical people who talk to technical people outside the library system, not to people who deal with end users.
At 10:08 AM Blogger Valerie said…
I would be considered a digital librarian though my position title is actually Technical Information Specialist. I curate and manage and other websites at the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.
Valerie Allen
At 10:20 AM Blogger Jill Hurst-Wahl said…
Valerie, ah…someone in the government! Thanks! We often forget how many library positions are in the government.
At 5:01 PM Anonymous Ben G. said…
It’s certainly hard to generalize these ‘digital librarian’ jobs. In fact, few of them even use that term, digital librarian.Some people manage software apps, some people manage programs (such as a digitization program), some manage established products, like a repository, some actually develop custom apps and websites. I have even seen a job that focuses exclusively on managing an institution’s web 2.0 activities. The variety of work and duties is immense.

Here’s a good resource for digital jobs:

At 5:17 PM Anonymous Scott Brown said…
I’d definitely include Christy Confetti-Higgins at Sun Microsystems.
At 5:39 PM Blogger sistrunkqueen said…
I have been accepted to University of Boras Swedish School of Information Science in Boras,Sweden. I will work online getting a masters in digital libraries and information services. Also it is tuition free for now. If anyone is interested for Fall ’10 ?
Yes they accept Americans. I got in for Spring.
At 6:29 PM Blogger Jill Hurst-Wahl said…
sistrunkqueen, I thought your claim of tuition-free learning sounded too good to be true, but it is true. Students must still pay living expenses and will need to be fluent in Swedish. Looks like there are also opportunities to be an exchange student there.Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

At 1:10 PM Blogger Jill Hurst-Wahl said…
SLA‘s Information Outlook (v13, n05, page 9) in talking about records management and e-discovery/compliance said:”Typical e-discovery requirements involve producing specific business information based on requested dates and subject matter. More than 40 percent of companies said their main concern regarding e-discovery was the risk – both legal and financial – of failing to produce documents in a timely manner. However, companies are still struggling with the issue because they don’t understand the requirements for responding to e-discovery requests and lack funding for the technology to support finding the information they need.”

This sounds like an area that could use digital librarians.

At 1:52 PM Blogger Metro Librarian said…
The Library at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority reclassified and elevated a librarian position to reflect the correct title and job responsibilities:DIGITAL RESOURCES LIBRARIAN
($64,960.90 – $ 97,408.90)

Basic Function: To analyze, plan, coordinate and implement digital access to library and archive collections, provide reference and research services, and assist with the overall delivery of services by the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive. Examples of Duties: Develops, implements, and manages web-based information architecture, digital content of the library and archive, and intranet/internet websites; Coordinates with the Communications and Information and Technology Services departments on the design, implementation, support, and maintenance of digital resources; Develops and recommends various methodologies, standards, and software used in the creation of digital collections and their long-term preservation; Provides expertise to others in the library and within the organization in the creation and maintenance of digital collections…

I believe that the “I” in MLIS will increasingly be recognized and rewarded. It would definitely be helpful for job seekers and employers alike if more Librarian job descriptions were rewritten and retitled to reflect reality.

The Future of the Credit Card?…09.17.10

17 09 2010

Follow a library on Twitter on Oct 1st…09.17.10

17 09 2010

The Colors Of The Top 100 Web Brands…09.17.10

17 09 2010

HTML5 Enhanced Version of Bing…09.16.10

16 09 2010

New Pew Report on Mobile Phone Trends: The Rise of Apps Culture…09.16.10

16 09 2010

New Pew Report: The Rise of Apps Culture

“Cell phone use in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past decade.  Fully eight in ten adults today (82%) are cell phone users, and about one-quarter of adults (23%) now live in a household that has a cell phone but no landline phone.

Along with the widespread embrace of mobile technology has come the development of an “apps culture.”  As the mobile phone has morphed from a voice device to a multi-channel device to an internet-accessing mini-computer, a large market of mobile software applications, or “apps,” has arisen.

Among the most popular are apps that provide some form of entertainment (games, music, food, travel and sports) as well as those that help people find information they need and accomplish tasks (maps and navigation, weather, news, banking).  With the advent of the mobile phone, the term “app” has become popular parlance for software applications designed to run on mobile phone operating systems, yet a standard, industry-wide definition of what is, and is not, an “app” does not currently exist.  For the purpose of this report, apps are defined as end-user software applications that are designed for a cell phone operating system and which extend the phone’s capabilities by enabling users to perform particular tasks.

The most recent Pew Internet Project survey asked a national sample of 1,917 cell phone-using adults if they use apps and how they use them.  Broadly, the results indicate that while apps are popular among a segment of the adult cell phone using population, a notable number of cell owners are not yet part of the emerging apps culture.

35% of adults have cell phones with apps, but only two-thirds of those who have apps actually use them

Of the 82% of adults today who are cell phone users, 43% have software applications or “apps” on their phones.  When taken as a portion of the entire U.S. adult population, that equates to 35% who have cell phones with apps….”

Seesmic for Windows Phone 7…09.16.10

16 09 2010

World University Rankings 2010-2011…09.16.10

16 09 2010

“The new 2010 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings issue has just been released and we will see, no doubt, plenty of discussions and debate about the outcome. Like them or not, rankings are here to stay and the battle is now on to shape their methodologies, their frequency, the level of detail they freely provide to ranked universities and the public, their oversight (and perhaps governance?), their conceptualization, and so on”

Looxie – Wearable Webcam to Record Your Life…09.16.10

16 09 2010
Continuous Videoing
Looxcie doesn’t have a record button. Simply turn it on to video your life. Looxcie stores up to five hours of video and hundreds of instant clips. When the on-board storage is full, Looxcie purges the oldest video – the stuff you don’t want anyway.
Instant ClipsIt’s impossible to predict when something memorable will happen. But everyone knows when it has. We call these Looxcie moments: those unexpected events you want to capture and share right away. With one click, Looxcie lets you save instant clips of the last thirty seconds of your life.

Visible Video On LightWhen you turn on Looxcie, a Video On light on the front of the camcorder illuminates red. It’ll be obvious to others that you’re videoing.”


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