[link to it] 31Dec04searching for tsunami info @ your library

It's been interesting putting together a list of links for my library news page about the recent disaster. I went to the home pages of BPL, NYPL, MPL, SFPL, LAPL, ALA, ALIA, IFLA and a few others, to see if anyone had put up links on their home pages to disaster relief news and information that I could borrow, the way Yahoo, Amazon, IMDB, Apple and a few others did. Milwaukee Public had a link to a list of charities on another site, the other libraries didn't have home page links, or didn't as of this morning. Personally, I got most of my links either directly from blogs I read, Google, or through collaborative community sites like Metafilter and Technorati.

This is not a criticism, just an observation about responsiveness, and possibly scale. In our small library, staff can add a link to the library home page just by going into the blog software we use and editing it. I'm sure at larger libraries with site design either outsourced or done only by specialized staff [who likely have time off this week] home page changes can be slower in coming. I think as librarians we all sort of assume that people read the news someplace other than the library home page. What is our responsibility to be responsive to current events with our online presence as well as in person? If anyone has seen good library web pages about the current situation in Southeast Asia, please send them along and I'll link them here.

[link to it] 30Dec04books, an annual index of - my entry

I read Amanda's list and decided to make one of my own, slightly edited because I track my books a bit differently. Please note that unlike [what I assume about] Amanda, I have neither a full-time job nor much of a social life, leaving me much more time for bookish pursuits.

number of books read in 2004: 103
number of books read in 2003: 75
number of books read in 2002: 91
number of books read in 2001: 78
average read per month: 8.5
average read per week: 1.98
number read in worst month: 4 (July)
number read in best month: 15 (September)
percentage by male authors: 78
percentage by female authors: 22
fiction as percentage of total: 53
non-fiction as percentage of total: 47
percentage of total liked: 87
percentage of total ambivalent: 10
percentage of total disliked: 2

[link to it] 29Dec04hi - 29dec

Hi. I'm finalizing my schedule for ALA and it's online here. I'll be doing a little presentation at the Radical Reference Skill-Sharing workshops which I think is going to be a nifty little worthwhile program. If you're interested in Radical Reference, there's a get together on Saturday night during the conference

The library blogger community's own Jessica Baumgart won two awards in the Feedster Developer Contest for her RSS tutorial and Feedster Search Documentation. Nice going Jessica!

Why searching Google for online resources is like buying a CD at Wal-Mart. [libinblack]

All librarians who interact with multimedia at all [that is to say "all librarians"] should start understanding Digital Rights Management issues now. Jenny has a few good anecdotes about why buying items with DRM can be the equivalnet of bad customer service for libraries.

The new LISFeeds covers 131 blogs and even has a search function. The new and today's items options means you can do a quick check-in with the LIS world with one click. Plus, it's attractive. Nice job Blake [and Steven for getting the whole ball rolling on this in the first place, mazel tov on the new job].

There has been some discussion on the ALA Council list lately about why people go to conferences and why they don't go to conferences. As an outreach librarian who asks a lot of people why they DON'T go to the library, this question interests me. Rochelle has a little mock-up of an unofficial survey over on her blog. If you've got some feedback that you'd like to give to an ALA Councilor, head over there. If you'd like to read some of the Council back and forth, you can check out the ugly but quite functional ALACOUN list archives where surveying is discussed.

My friend Matt went to the new Seattle Public Library and took photos of all the temporary signage that has had to be put in place to clearly state some directional/usage guidelines that were perhaps intended to be obvious. [update: apparently many of these "temporary" signs have been up since May]

the library was a great space filled with interesting things to look at and useful spaces, but far too subtle for an obvious funtional space like a public library.

Walt Crawford is inviting those who are interested to submit reports about ALA's Midwinter conference and other programs and discussions of interest to his readership, for publication in Cites & Insights. [beyondthejob]

[link to it] 27Dec04hi - 27dec

Hi. Tom Robbins once dedicated a book "to all those whose letters I haven't answered" and I am feeling the same way around here. I've been away for a few days doing holiday stuff with family and friends. I've been slackerly about posting some of the great links I've been getting from you all. I've been reading fewer of my feeds because my laptop is in the shop and I much prefer NetNewsWire to Feedster or Bloglines for my RSS fix. I'm focusing on getting my schedule straight for the upcoming ALA conference and getting some presentations together for some upcoming talks. I was so nervous about the talk I gave this month to the new librarians that I really prepared the heck out of the talk I gave, and I think the effort paid off well. Anyone who is going to be in Boston for ALA or who reads this and is just in Boston anyhow, please drop me a line.

A public library I think I'd enjoy working for: McArthur Public Library, Biddeford Maine. From the job ad:

Above all, he or she will burn with a near-messianic zeal to provide the best possible library service to the diverse members of the community of Biddeford, by whatever means necessary. The usual technological and organizational skills are required too....Other duties include program development, participation in professional meetings, staff training, continuing education, tent construction, and unplugging toilets.

Can't believe I haven't linked to this before, but it is very worth reading: Removing the Barriers to Research: An Introduction to Open Access for Librarians by Peter Suber. If you like this, you might also enjoy something I'm sure I haven't posted "How and Why To Free All Refereed Research From Access- and Impact-Barriers Online, Now"

"The serials pricing crisis is now in its fourth decade. We're long past the point of damage control and into the era of damage. Prices limit access, and intolerable prices limit access intolerably. Every research institution in the world suffers from intolerable access limitations, no matter how wealthy. Not only must libraries cope by cancelling subscriptions and cutting into their book budgets, but researchers must do without access to some of the journals critical to their research."

While this is just a series of slides, I think a narrative can be made that combines them in lieu of the actual talk that was given. Library Technology 2004: The Current State of Library Automation and Future Trends. Of particular note: bigger libraries, and more of them, are going with similar vendors so consolidation of large library resources becomes simpler and searching gets more federated. And, on the next to last slide, "Small, rural libraries continue to struggle with automation." Too bad. [unalog]

Add this to one of the hidden costs of filtering: additional staff to keep tabs on patrons. Phoenix AZ public library system has a "no pornography" policy and Internet users in the library have no option to have unfiltered access. Note the odd contruction in this sentence "The computers in Phoenix's libraries now filter all Web sites that are classified as pornographic" Do you really think all porn web sites are filtered? Filtered by whom or what? And how? What about textual pornography? What does "objectionable for minors" mean anyhow? While I'm always happy to see more jobs available for librarians, it's sad that they need to come this way. As a side note, we found that porn viewing and printing went down when we switched to a self-serve print server that patrons interact with. Formerly, circulation staff had had to hand printed pages directly to patrons and take their money and there was some speculation that this interaction with staff was part of the reason for the problematic porn printing.

Diary of the future first head librarian at Boston Public Library sold on eBay for almost $600. [thanks matthew]

I'd like to see this Google/library overlap really hit the popular culture consciousness. I'd like to see folks songs about the bookmobiles and people writing me letters at my library saying "I will still come there, even if all the books are available online" I'd like to see some good library art and some good library rallying songs and manifestos. I don't think we have to be anti-Google to do it, I think we just need to stick up for our own wonderful selves and explain why the idea of a publicly owned space for enhancing your own info-lexicon is a social good and one worthy of funding, support, and appreciation. Google will always be a wonderful tool for librarians and others to use, but Google will never belong to me. Google will never have a comfortable chair, and sometimes you just want a comfortable chair.

Then again, I think maybe I just need to work for this new project. All digitized content of some major libraries -- including the Library of Congress -- available freely to online users. [riba rambles]

Speaking of library art, check out this description of a new art show by the guy who owns the LAPL's old catalog cards. [thanks chris]

[link to it] 21Dec04hi - 21dec

Hi and Happy Solstice. The days just start getting longer, starting now. I've been spending some time mulling over the various responses to the Google/Libraries news from last week, including Karen's reprinting of Mark Rosenzweig's comments with some of her own, Rory, and Chuck. While I don't have a manifesto-worthy response of my own, I just want to point out that most of the issues that are wrapped up in this one event -- issues like privacy, commercialization of information, ownership of information, copyright and the future of libraries -- have already been playing themselves out, in smaller ways, in libraries everywhere. The fact that one publicly-traded company has been able to use their vast resources to leverage co-operation with prestigious libraries just forces us to examine a lot of these issues together, and all at once. Learn why this issue matters, and then tell your collegagues and friends.

[link to it] 17Dec04ALIA photos

This is probably of interest to no one but me, but if you'd like to see photos of the conference I attended in Australia, they are now online along with some cool desktop wallpaper images.

[link to it] 16Dec04wonder what those 300 pamphlets were about?

A different kind of Iraqi library story. [thanks ken]

[link to it] 15Dec04RFID from another angle

Are libraries looking at RFID implementation in other industries? The Ska Librarian, who is now also an agribusiness librarian, sends this link to a 2005 RFID survey from Beef Magazine.

Small private libraries in Iraq.

Fadl Abid Oda, 30 years old, has taken it upon himself to do something that western companies in Iraq have failed to do. In a tiny room off a busy street in the Orfali district of Baghdad, Fadl stands in his small library. [thanks tamarack]

Two small highlights of my trip. One, seeing Eli's smiling face on the projection screen at the ALIA dinner. Apparently the ALIA New Graduate's group had borrowed a powerpoint presentation from ALA's New Members Round Table with some headshots and little quotes from people about being a new librarian. I looked up from my drink, halfway around the world, and saw Eli and nearly sprayed soda on my tablemates saying "I know her!" Second highlight, flying home and catching some of the Geminid meteor shower from the window of the plane.

Andrea and I were chatting outreach options recently. She may not have known that during my freelance lirbarian times, I actually did run a trivia night at a local pub run by a pal of mine from library school. The question lists I created are, naturally, online.

[link to it] 13Dec04quick, before the meme gets away from us

Breaking news: Google + libraries = ??? Will Google's ads appear by Harvard's libraries' content? I'm sort of dying to know how this is going to work out.

We have agreed to a pilot project that will result in the digitization of a substantial number of volumes from the Harvard libraries. The pilot will give the University a great deal of important data on a possible future large-scale digitization program for most of the books in the Harvard collections. The pilot is a small but extremely significant first step that can ultimately provide both the Harvard community and the larger public with a revolutionary new information location tool to find materials available in libraries. The pilot project will be done in collaboration with Google. The project will link Harvard's library collections with Google's resources and its cutting-edge technology. [genehack]

Hi. I'm back at my house finally. I'll be saving the big reunion with my boyfriend until he gets back from my place up North which has done some freezing during my absence. Last night I slept for 14 hours which I think was the first time I have ever done that without being sick, possibly ever. A lot has happened while I was away: blog ethics discussions, a neat blogging at ALA project [I'll be doing my same old thing here, fyi, I think Steven has the project well-covered and there was talk of a "be nice" agreement that wasn't my style], and my pals Dan and Jeremy are sending around a draft of a paper they're working on called Service Autodiscovery for Rapid Information Movement [check it out, I swear it's relevant]. I've been doing almost no blog reading or feed-checking in two weeks, so I'll be getting up to speed slowly over the next few days.

update: apparently I literally interpreted what was supposed to be a figurative [and off the record] statement by Steven, damned IM and its lack of shaded nuance. The so-called "be nice" waiver that he mentioned people would have to sign was more about preventing libel and less about content restrictions and doesn't exist yet in any case. My main interest at this point is working on an aggregator that will collate all the posts from any and all ALA attendees or interested parties who are blogging at the event or from home, sort of like how the DNC blog worked. IM or email me if you want to chat more about any of this.

One of the cool things waiting for me when I got back was my copy of Priscilla Schontz's Librarian's Career Guidebook which I wrote a chapter on freelancing for, ironically, right before taking my current job.

I found out recently that I did not get a reference job I applied for. This is always tough news because I never know what exactly I could do better the next time around. I have ideas, but no firm feelings of "Oh I know exactly why I didn't get this job." Since my current contract/grant job ends in May sometime, I have been looking around a bit at options, though not super-seriously yet. This little offer came my way while I was at the conference. It's still a very up in the air thing, but it's nice to be wanted, don't you think?

Sorry Books are a project started by the Australians for Native Title as way for ordinary Australians to express their remorse for what happened to the Stolen Generations.

The stylesheet that I used for my recent talk and all the other talks I've given over the past few years is available for use by anyone else under a Creative Commons license. Amanda used it, with some modification, for a nifty talk on Weblogs in the Classroom. The advantage to doing your talk in HTML is that it can be immediately made available on -- or even given from -- the web with hyperlinks [as we see more and more people at conferences with laptops, isn't this useful?], it can be standards compliant, it's available to anyone with a browser, and a quick tweak of the stylesheet gives you the talk in notes format for printing. I also like to think that it's easier to use and easier on the eyes than Powerpoint, but that may just be snobbery on my part. In any case, please avail yourself of it if you think it would be useful to you.

[link to it] 8Dec04hi - 08dec

Hi. Some pictures of my trip -- including a few of the local libraries -- are online if you want to take a look. No real updates until I get back stateside this weekend.

[link to it] 4Dec04hi - 03dec

Hi. Boy is it nice here. The talk I gave this morning is available online now: Progressive Librarianship & the New Librarians: the personal [and professional] is political. Hope you enjoy it; it got a pretty good reception here. Special thanks to the library who sponsored me, The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library, and for all the librarians who helped me plan my trip and made me feel very very welcome.

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