Study Results Showing Internet Competition With Other Media…12.23.08

23 12 2008

Here is an excerpt from Stephen Abram’s post from yesterday [] which highlights the study results just released which shows how the Internet is “competing for attention” with other media:


What’s competing for library users’ attention? It’s interesting that advertisers study this sort of stuff to the extreme and look for the tiniest insights into human behaviour. I wonder what’s on people’s minds as they deal with life’s issues…? How can libraries align with and penetrate that noise?


ticTOC–FREE Service to Keep Up With Scholarly Journals…12.23.08

23 12 2008

Here is an excerpt of a post about ticTOCs from Research Information [] about a great, new, FREE service:

A new free service makes it easier to keep up-to-date with scholarly journals. ticTOCs  – Journal Tables of Contents Service provides access to the most recent tables of contents of over 11,000 scholarly journals from more than 400 publishers.  It helps scholars, researchers, academics and anyone else keep up-to-date with what’s being published in the most recent issues of journals on almost any subject.

Users of ticTOCs can find journals of interest by title, subject or publisher, view the latest TOC and link through to the full text of over 250,000 articles (where institutional or personal subscriptions, or open access, allow). Users can also save selected journals to MyTOCs so that they can view future TOCs (free registration is required if you want to permanently save your MyTOCs).  ticTOCs also helps to export selected TOC RSS feeds to popular feedreaders such as Google Reader and Bloglines and allows users to import article citations into RefWorks (where institutional or personal subscriptions allow)


Popular Meebo Widget Added…12.23.08

23 12 2008

I decided to add a Meebo IM widget to my blog “The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian” [https://lonewolflibrarian.wordpress.comtoday so maybe I can chat up a fellow librarian/visitor from time to time.  If it works well, I will investigate using it in on my OPAC even though it wouldn’t get used much for quite a while.

In 2006, Meebo noted its faithful were from our clan: “When we initially launched meebo, we crossed our fingers, gave our two little servers some encouraging pats, and sent out those first emails to friends and family. Words of encouragement started trickling in from students, office workers, soldiers, and travelers. One of our most loyal user groups was completely unexpected… librarians.

I guess I’m not an early adopter.  On the other hand, at least I catch on eventually–not bad for a boomer.

Incredible Growth of Twitter…12.23.08

23 12 2008

Although I don’t use Twitter, the “Twittersphere” is big time with the library tech group and is growing in general by leaps and bounds it appears from this article with lots of nice charts today in TechCrunch entitled “The State of the Twittersphere” by Erick Schonfeld []:


How many followers do most people really have on Twitter? The average number of both followers and other members people on Twitter are following is about 70, according to the State of the Twittersphere, a new report by Web marketing startup HubSpot. (Full report embedded below). But that average is skewed by elite Twitterers who have hundreds or thousands of followers. The vast majority of people on Twitter use it to keep in touch with a much smaller circle of friends and peers. For those with 50 or fewer followers (three quarters of all users), the average number of followers is 15.6 and the average number of people they are following is 18.4.

HubSpot’s State of the Twittersphere report is inspired by Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere, which tries to quantify trends across all the blogs it tracks. HubSpot gets its data from Twitter Grader, a site it operates that generates a grade for Twitter users based on factors such as how many followers they have, the reach of the people who are following them, and how often they post updates.

Twitter Grader is basically a vanity search site for Twitter, but it has managed to compile data on over 500,000 Twitter accounts, which is probably around 10 percent of the total. It is not clear how representative these users are, but it is a large sample and they certainly are not all power users. (Three percent had 0 followers, 9 percent didn’t follow anyone else, and 22 percent had five or fewer followers). Until Twitter releases its own State of the Twittersphere report, this is as good as the data gets.

Some other key stats from the report:

—70% of Twitter users joined in 2008
—20% of Twitter users have joined in the past 60 days
—The average user has been on Twitter 275 days

So it is pretty much all newbies, and mainstream adoption is just getting started.

—The most popular days of the week to Tweet are Wednesday and Thursday
An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 new accounts are registered each day.
—Only 5 percent of all Twitter users have more than 250 followers.
—Only 0.8 percent have more than 1,000
—22 percent have five or fewer followers
—Another 24 percent (the largest group) have between 11 and 25 followers

Similarly, most people don’t follow more than 25 other people. In fact, 30 percent follow the Tweets of five or fewer other members. Again, 11 to 25 seems to be a sweet spot, with 21 percent users following that many others. Here’s is the breakdown:

Librarians, Knol, and Wikipedia…12.22.08

22 12 2008

Here is an excerpt from a post by Wayne Bivens-Tatum entitled “Knol Short for Knowledge” [] which will be of interest going forward:

…The IHT wrote about Knol today[Dec. 16]. Here’s a Knol screenshot from Google. Since I’m periodically fortunate enough to get people to pay me to talk about Google, I figured I’d better at least have an opinion on this.

The IHT headline says, ‘Google tests content service that may one day rival Wikipedia.’ Maybe. Knol is designed to let people create information pages just like on Wikipedia, except the author’s names are included and only the authors can edit the pages. Supposedly, Google hopes to attract experts to write pages, including competing pages on the same topic, that will become authoritative enough to make them first stops for information, much like Wikipedia is now for a lot of people. According to one of the Google people, they want to make it easy for experts to publish knowledge online. Google thinks some experts don’t share what they know with the world because it’s too difficult to do that now.

That’s the line that stumps me. If someone really has information to share that would be beneficial to the rest of us, as opposed to most of the information they share online, how hard is it these days to publish?…

The only difference is that Knol would gather these pages together into a website that would be more likely to be found on a web search than somebody’s blog or personal website, especially, I would imagine, if one was searching the web with Google. If enough people contributed, then there would be enough links that Knol pages would start showing up along with Wikipedia pages as some of the first pages on many searches. That’s great for ad revenue for Google, but how great is it for the rest of us? Besides a revenue engine, what is Google trying to create?

It seems to be some hybrid of Britannica and Wikipedia. Like Britannica, they are trying to attract experts, but it doesn’t sound like they’re verifying anyone’s expertise, nor searching out experts the way Britannica or the excellent and free Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy does. So it can’t have the authoritative expertise that librarians traditionally like in reference works and that makes them hate and fear the Wikipedia so much.

Unlike Wikipedia, if another expert sees something false or misleading or biased, there’s no way to edit the information to try to make it better. Many see this as a flaw to the Wikipedia, but this is actually its great strength, and you can tell from the discussion pages and page histories that plenty of people take Wikipedia’s attempt at objectivity seriously. If launched, Knol will have some participatory elements, mainly a comments and a ranking feature. Presumably even with competing articles, the better ones will rise to the top through repeated high rankings, and the comments might lead to revisions or at least let people know about possible caveats, if people take the time to both read the articles and read the following discussions, which could be considerably longer than the articles.

It sounds like an interesting experiment, trying to create the traditionally authoritative encyclopedia in a freely available format. One benefit could be to bring together dispersed knowledge on topics that we might not have now, though that’s the main benefit I see of the Wikipedia and of the Internet generally. That the authors are known will make this “authoritative” in a sense, but the authority won’t be of the Britannica kind. Instead it’ll be more of the Internet Movie Database or Amazon reviews kind. “Rank: 7.5 based on 9,734 votes.” “5 out of 7 people found this Knol helpful.”

Most people don’t seem to mind the Wikipedia, but many librarians do. Will this Knol satisfy the reference source authoritarian streak so many librarians seem to have? Since there are authors and only they can edit, will this be the free online reference source that pleases the librarians? Or since there’s no central authority to guarantee the authority of the authors will it still be inadequate by librarian standards? Unless the ‘experts’ are the sorts of scholarly experts we expect now, will Knol be any more authoritative than the Wikipedia or someone’s blog?

It seems like Knol will operate in some limbo between the sort of authoritative reference sources that librarians and scholars like and the often excellent but literally un-authoritative Wikipedia.

Most people don’t care about authority anyway, not in the way librarians do. If it’s popular enough, it’ll have authority…Regardless of the quality of the articles, though, I think we can be sure they’ll show up highly in Google searches, and for many people that’s all the authority they need.”

ALA TechSource Blog Top 5 of 2008…12.22.08

22 12 2008

The following are the top 5 technologies in 2008 for librarians according to Jason Griffey on the ALA TechSource blog []:

“…the technologies that I think librarians need to be aware of, examine, and find uses for in their library.

#5 – Ebook readers

While there’s been a lot of criticism heaped upon the Amazon Kindle this year (it’s ugly, it’s too expensive, it’s a DRM nightmare ), it remains the E-reader that garnered the most publicity. It’s not the only game in town for E-readers, with the Sony Reader and the iRex Iliad on the market as well.  These have roughly the same feature set as the Kindle, with one glaring exception: they do not have constantly available wireless integration with the Amazon Kindle Store, the largest selection of ebooks in the world. In my mind, this sets the Kindle apart and makes it the one to beat. Full disclosure: I own a Kindle, and nothing has disrupted my media consumption habits so fully since I received my first iPod. It really is a revolutionary device.

#4 – Clouds, clouds, everywhere

Cloud computing became a buzzword, but the worlds of business and academia started to take a hard look at how these tools really could help customers. Google Docs, file sync services like Dropbox, backup services like Mozy and Carbonite, and’s variety of services like their S3 storage or SimpleDB database service are all examples of the cloud services that people are beginning to rely on for their everyday computing. For the record, I do all of my writing on Google Docs, because it does a better job of letting me pour text out and gives me the same text everywhere I might happen to be. The power inherent in the lack of geographic necessity is hard to overstate.

#3 – Microblogging

Twitter set the bar for microblogging services, all of which allow you to pour out your thoughts in 140 characters or less. Like this.

#2 – The Rise of the Netbook

The largest growth segment in personal computers this year was a segment that didn’t even exist seriously a year ago…the netbook. The name is given to what might have previously been called a subnotebook–these devices aim to be just good enough for the common set of uses for the mobile worker. The machine that created this new class of laptop was the eeePC, from Asus, with a 7 inch screen and a price of just $249. Just about the size of a hardback book, it was perfect for the on-the-go techie. After the success of the Asus, nearly every other computer manufacturer quickly hit the market with their version of the netbook, all priced below $500 and of varying sizes, specifications, and operating systems. 

#1 – iPhone 3G

The iPhone has driven the mobile space into a completely new realm. With the release this year of the App Store, Apple has created an entirely new way of delivering content that may end up being even more important than the iTunes Store. The iPhone 3G changed all the rules about what a cell phone could be, and the repercussions from the iPhone are going to haunt not just the cell phone market, but every part of the technology realm. While its dominance won’t last forever, for the time being, there is no better or more important mobile device than Apple’s glossy wonderphone.”

True Meaning of Christmas…12.22.08

22 12 2008

The true meaning of Christmas by GoFish:

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him [Jesus], Which is the first commandment of all?

 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

–Mark 12:28-31

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [Jesus], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

–John 3:16-17

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

–John 15:13