[link to it] 31Jan05endangered libraries

Michael has started an Endangered Library List on his blog. Let him know if you have additions.

A good point to remember from a panel discussion that Stephanie attended, discussing Google Scholar. "Users don't care. They want quick, they want cheap, they want easy....As much as we want them to enjoy finding information, they don't."

[link to it] 29Jan05who do you vaguely know? networking

Priscilla from LIScareer has a great article up on Free Pint about establishing and maintaining an online presence and how that all meshes with the complicated world of networking.

[link to it] 27Jan05hi - 27jan

Hi. I'm messing with my feeds today and starting to move more towards using the XML version of the feed instead of the RDF. In any case, Bloglines has been reporting some versions of this feed [they have several] as unreachable. However, this feed is very much alive, poke around til you find another one.

Another hitchhiker outreach story. I picked up a kid who was getting of work at the local ski resort and gave him a ride in to town. He said that he lived right near the library -- where I was going -- but he never went there because he had "$120 in fines or something" I let him know that our maximum fine on books that have been returned was only $5 so that it was unlikely his fines were that high. When I parked my car, I invited him in "just to check." Turns out, he had $5 in fines and was so happy to not have his fine be in the double or triple digits that he paid it rightt then and there and renewed his card. I don't think I can make a habit of this, but it's nice when you just tell the truth about the library and people who have been thinking something untrue about it get the message.

Why showing movies at libraries can be a good thing, as if you didn't already know this.

The great thing about some public libraries, like this one, is the link the library sets up between the community, the library staff and the resources of the building and its contents. In this case, John Ciurrin from the Library introduced the film by referring to the Albany Public Libraryís strong commitment to freedom of speech and how their large auditorium was dedicated to use by the community for a wide range of purposes. Dennis Mosley runs the Independent Film Forum at the Library, which has a loyal group of regulars. Venues like this are some of the most vital forums for public discussion in the country. [thanks dj]

[link to it] 26Jan05hi - 26jan

Hi. The reason I was curious about the things you can do without your gadgets is because my laptop broke while I was at ALA. I have a back-up laptop, but I learned in a hurry which things I do are laptop-specific. I had only an old copy of my postal-address book on my iPod, my "what I've read" RSS feed list was out of wack [I use Bloglines for back-up but NetNewsWire for regular reading], my IM client was ugly and my control key was in the wrong place. Otherwise, mostly not horrible which was good news. I try to have a set of tools that will work in a long power failure in addition to all the lovely blinky beepy widgetry that fills my office.

I have two confessions to make. 1. I never did like the International Children's Digital Library much. I want to, I just don't. 2. I haven't been reading Erica's LibrarianAvengers blog enough [now added to my RSS feeds]. Today's post about the ICDL made me laugh out loud.

We need to run everything we do through a filter that asks: "If I click on this without an MLS, will it piss me off?" We need to acknowledge that design matters. We need to remove ourselves from our collections. We need to design websites that don't mock the resources they contain. We need to do these things because otherwise all of our efforts are worthless. We need to design websites that don't suck, because otherwise the kids that we care so much about are going to wander off and smoke crack. And it's going to be our fault.

And, speaking of laughing out loud, I present: ALA Council: The Drinking Game

I missed this from the PLA Blog before I left ALA. but there's a pretty interesting statistic here: 80% of libraries serve populations of less than 10,000. Even a rural-ish library like mine serves a population of almost 30,000.

What is missing from a lot of library weblogs? Fun graphics! Thanks, Aaron for making a whole new graphic out of my old tired Encyclopedia Britannica.

[link to it] 25Jan05low end powerpoint - streetref notes

Inspired by Michael's white board shot, I have the notes from my street reference talk -- which got at least one positive review -- on-line. How are you at communicating your message without your gadgetry?

Welcome to the club of the misfiltered, Oregon Libraries! According to Sethf, the Oregon Libraries Network web site is classified by N2H2 as "pornography" and hence is unviewable by 40% of schools in the US, according to their statistics. You can check to see if your own site is filtered. More over at LISNews. Here are the result from a few of my pages:

librarian.net - not currently categorized
jessamyn.com - "Web Page Hosting/Free Pages" [incorrectly]
jessamyn.com/journal - "Message/Bulletin Boards" [note: this could apply to any blog]

Way back when, before librarian.net and before Gail Kwak's excellent site, I was going to do a web site of tattooed librarians. Seems like the topic is coming up again, this time on WebJunction

Submission deadline for the Mobilivre Bookmobile project is coming up. [thanks jill]

[link to it] 23Jan05cataloging, berman, folks folksonomies

Two good posts in the archives over at Catalogablog. David talks about folksonomies, the word we love to worry about, in the same week as he discusses the fate of the Hennepin County Library Authority files, which are sadly inaccessible. When I was taking the bus down to ALA, Greg and I were in the bus terminal discussing Dewey and another guy leaned over and said "are you talking about Melvil Dewey? Are you guys librarians?" When I said that I was, one of the first things he said was "Do you know Sandy Berman?" I was happy to say that I do.

It was really gratifying seeing so many librarians and others putting their reading lists online. Even though we don't do a lot of reading at our jobs, I think being well and broadly-read is an important part to being a good librarian. Here's one last not-online reading list that I've been enjoying over this wintery weekend.

One of the things we did at Council was debate national ID card types of situations in a possible US future where one card would serve as driver's license, library card, citizenship card, etc. ALA strongly urged the powers that be to be concerned with the privacy implications of such a movement and, at some level, was just against the national identity card idea. In the UK they are grappling with a different sort of privacy issue: fingerprinting children to use their prints as unique identifiers for library cards in schools. Is this another case of solving a problem that doesn't really exist with fancy gadgetry?

"It's far more logical to say the number of times a child will lose its library card is relatively small. You ask the child their name and you trust them. What are they saying - that children are going to be masquerading as other students so that they can illicitly obtain books?" [thanks eoin]

An interview with the real Coach Carter where he discusses the value of libraries.

So did the good students end up tutoring the struggling ones?
Carter: Yes. And you know what? We made the library a cool place to be. That was a miracle within itself. [thanks robert]

Strange little bit of news that came to me via the "copy and paste a press release into my mailto form" Allibris will be offering books for sale via OCLC's WorldCat so librarians can buy a book instead of ILLing it. OCLC will bill you, making it even stupidly simpler. No postage, no mailing & return envelopes, no messy labelling. Is this the future of interlibrary loan? Is it really cheaper to buy the book than ILL it?

Wacky and weird subject headings, a collaborative wiki-project from the folks at The Marginal Librarian. [thanks beth]

[link to it] 21Jan05reading lists redux

I have a somewhat hard time keeping my reading list updated. Sometimes it's a choice between writing about one book, or reading another one. Patricio on Flickr has found another way of keeping track of his reading for 2005.

Speaking of folksonomies, I would like to mention that the very first time I came across this group tagging phenomenon, it was not at del.icio.us or flickr, it was at the Gimp Savvy Copyright-Free Photo Archive where they have selections of unindexed images and invite users of the site to help classify them. Just by looking at their list of tags, which they call master keys, you can see how this works and does not work. In specific, see this example.

At ALA Council on Wednesday, Council passed a resolution that was strongly critical of the Salinas library system closing and written by Michael McGrorty. Eventually the resolution in its final form will be online, in the meantime, the situation in Salinas is still looking pretty contentious, as are other libraries getting severely reduced hours such as the ones in Philadelphia.

Councilman Sergio Sanchez, who cast the lone vote of opposition to the libraries' closure, said Salinas residents should practice civil disobedience and physically take over the city's three library branches to keep them from closing. "We got to prepare for another fight," Sanchez said. The libraries are scheduled to close this spring, sometime before June 17, the last day library employees can work.

[link to it] 20Jan05hi - 20jan

Hi, I'm back and testing the new server I'm on. After all that wifi whining and winning, my laptop's new logic board dropped dead on me Tuesday afternoon, so sorry no more local posting. I'll do some summarizing of Council activities once I'm home from work.

Jenny chimes in on what the library overlap is or could be with the social bookmarking services we've been seeing get so popular lately. She's doing a tech summit to tell librarians about it which I'll be sorry to miss.

When someone gets used to retrieving items using the words they think of, not the words we think of, do you think they'll still be willing to type "LastName, FirstName" to find an author? Will they understand a title search that accepts exact phrases only? (Those are rhetorical questions and the correct answers are "no" and "no," even if you offer keyword searching hidden elsewhere on your catalog.)

While I am busy fixing the broken world of my here and now, please amuse yourselves exploring the arty and mystifying Interstitial Library. [thanks robert]

[link to it] 18Jan05ALA Council Work in process

- ALA referred a Workplace Speech resolution encouraging free exercise of workplace speech to legal counsel before it was voted on by council.
- ALA passed a resolution endorsing the Health Care Access Resolution.
- ALA debated a cell phone ban during ALA meetings but wound up voting it down after some amusing discussion.
- Council debated a resolution supporting lobbying to include standards for school libraries in a revised version of the expanded No Child Left Behind legislation. "If you can't beat them, we join them" according to one Councilor. Passed unanimously.

Here's another picture of me from the weekend, at a meetup for Metafilter members, an online community that contains quite a few librarians or librarians-in-training. This was a shoutout to the people that couldn't make it.

Back on the free-tagging thing. One downside which is getting some play lately. It's one thing to use offensive or hurtful language when you are tagging your own content, but what about when those tags are shared in a large nebulous community of people with widely disparate political and personal beliefs? Rebecca Blood talks about some of those issues. [jjg]

Good morning. Most of the ALA blogs have wrapped up but we've still got a few more Council meetings to go to and I'm not out of here until tomorrow. Back to work at the library on Thursday. Notable this morning is that ALA is launching a recruitment site to help bring more potential librarians into the field. I'm sure you know my position on this.

[link to it] 16Jan05in boston

Hey there -- I'm in ALA and the escalators are off. We make jokes that it's because it's Sunday but really there was a power failure and they have to get a [union] electrician in to get the escalators going on a Sunday. Some fun. Good news is the wifi is strong and functional and useful. Come see me today at the skillshare at 1:30 in the exhibit hall. I've heard rumors that the nascent Intellectual Property task force of SRRT may be planning a program on Google [scholar/library/answers/&c.] for Annual in Chicago which I think would be excellent.

Steven's got a few pictures up from the exhibit hall, including one of me in mid-gesture at the skillshare that I will keep on my desktop as a reminder that, as much as I'd like to, I don't own my own image.

Speaking of ALA, they now have Google running their site search. This is an amazing improvement to the functionality of the site for a number of reasons: bookmarkable search results, rich search syntax, understandable familiar results. Let's hope this is a real step in the right direction of increased site usability overall.

Some non-ALA stuff. Sethf has reposted a worth-reading post that's a bit of a DIY "how to" on how to exercise your fair use rights with PDFs that have cut and paste functionality removed. Why might you need this? He also has a post addressing that.

Please see TangognaT's schwag wrap-up, this is the sort of thing I love reading blogs for.

[link to it] 14Jan05rememberance of Noel Peattie

I am very sad to tell you that librarian, poet, and Revolting Librarians [and Redux] contributer Noel Peattie passed away yesterday. He was an amazing man and a wonderful contributor to the field of librarianship. My colleague Chris Dodge has written a remembrance of him which I have posted here.

[link to it] 13Jan05learn this word: folksonomy

What do you call a classification system where everyone gets to be a creator? Metadata by community? Grassroots free tagging? A folksonomy, of course. Systems like this are being used at places like Flickr and Del.icio.us and unalog. I've seen this term hitting the blogosphere but not really getting a foothold on the library blogs yet so here are some links for further reading. Can you say "user oriented"? I bet you can.
- peterme from Adaptive Path [who coined the term weblog] waxes folksonomically
- slashdot, naturally
- a neat little bullet-pointed list

perhaps the most important strength of a folksonomy is that it directly reflects the vocabulary of users. In an information retrieval system, there are at least two, and possibly many more vocabularies present (Buckland, 1999). These could include that of the user of the system, the designer of the system, the author of the material, the creators of the classification scheme; translating between these vocabularies is often a difficult and defining issue in information systems. As discussed earlier, a folksonomy represents a fundamental shift in that it is derived not from professionals or content creators, but from the users of information and documents. In this way, it directly reflects their choices in diction, terminology, and precision.

Steven reminds me that he posted a workaround way to get ALA news via RSS while I was away.

Andrea has a wireless fyi about how to get wifi at or near ALA if you're not one of the Councilors who will [hopefully] have wifi at the conference.

Until we exist in a future world where auto-discovery of changed RSS feeds is the norm, dorky posts like this will have to do. If you're subscribed to my booklist feed, the new URL for it is at this link. I'll try to add some metadata to my pages so that I'll be ready for that future world.

[link to it] 12Jan05Twelve Techie Things for Librarians 2005

List maniac Michael Stephens has a good list of tech things good for librarians to know about. It's a great big hyperlinked list of tech terms and descriptions and worthwhile no matter what your tech level of knowledge is.

I think this is Jenny quoting Steven quoting Fiona, but in any case, Dynix is going to have RSS feed options from their catalog and Seattle Public Library is going to be using their new OPAC real soon now. As a small-library web developer, I just drool thinking of how easy it would be to pull OPAC content in to an otherwise static "new titles" page, as Jenny says.

[link to it] 11Jan05can I get things done @ my library?

I don't know if you're at all familiar with the GTD [getting things done] organizing craze sweeping the blogosphere. Merlin -- a non-librarian with a great blog -- asks the lazyweb "Can I get an RSS feed of my library books?" Discussion ensues. [thanks bill]

One of the joys of serendipitously dipping into random blogs by way of keyword searching Feedster or Technorati is the occasional discovery like this one: booksdelicious, a pretty new blog written by a pretty happy-sounding librarian. Be sure to read the weeding entry.

The 15-week best selling book America The Book, besides being unavailable at Wal-Mart, was also being banned by the Southern Mississippi library system because it contains the heads of the Supreme Court justices superimposed on age-appropriate naked bodies. Apparently, as of today, the library system has reversed their decision.

Fun fact about the ALA Online Itinerary Planner, it doesn't seem to require a password, just a login with a valid email address. This means, if you know the email address of any registered conference attendee, you can look at and even alter the events in their planner.

ALA has a page up consolidating information on the damage and relief efforts for libraries following the tsunami disaster.

Having a library web site is just the beginning of reaching your patrons. You can analyze your web server logs and learn what they're looking at, and not looking at, to learn to serve them more effectively.

The most surprising of these is a page that lists the library's periodical holdings. The heavy use of this page has emphasized the importance of creating complete holdings for our journals in the Web catalog. Additionally, users prefer the alphabetical listing of the library's database to a list of full-text databases or a list of databases by subject.

Start watching, it's happening: PLA Blog blogging from the ALA Midwinter conference and "The Official Blog of the Public Library Association"

In other conference blogging news, the Music Library Association is going to be live-blogging their conference coming up in February. The blog is already up and running here. [thanks beckie]

[link to it] 9Jan05well, are there jobs or aren't there?

Two other responses to the Boston Globe editorial, the one which strongly implied the "upcoming" librarian shortage. Meredith & Dorothea

While I'm not a wide-eyed blogging fanatic, this is a great example of a superb reason for a blog. Eli the Mad Librarian works at Stanford. She was at a meeting this week about the Google/Stanford digitizing project and wrote about what she learned. It's not a press release, just one person's observations. [scratch]

Speaking of ALA, I have been trying to find a way to put into words the frustration I've been feeling lately with some of the things I've been trying to work through on ALA Council. Karen has summed up her feelings on some of the same issues. Most recently, we've been working on the issue of getting wireless capabilities at ALA. At the last conference, ALA splurged for wireless connections for councilors only and everyone else had to share the several dozen public access terminals in the convention center area, check email/web stuff from their hotels, or pay for access elsewhere. At other more tech-y conferences I know of, wireless access for attendees is part of the registration price. At ALA to date it hasn't even been available. Karen Schneider and I and others have been trying to push more Wifi accessibility, even if it comes at a price, just as an option. Looks like we'll have it for ALA Midwinter, again only for councilors, maybe by Annual we can have Wifi for everyone. Since all of ALA's Council discussions are public, you can read some of the more interesting comments on the wifi discussion.

- a "why wifi?" query
- my response
- a different sort of response
- an offered parable about efficiency
- Karen's offer of wifi assistance for folks who want/need it
- a response from a colleague that surprised even me with its vitriol
Feel free to puruse the archives yourself, they're all online.

[link to it] 6Jan05ALA comes to Boston, writes editorial

ALA is coming to Boston and this editorial penned by the ALA president and the Boston Public Library director talks about the library crisis. As I was driving home from work the other day I also heard a "Save Our Libraries" PSA by Bernie Mac talking about how libraries need our help. On the one hand, I think this is all great, good to get libraries off of people's back burners and into their daily consciousness. On the other hand, just like libraries are, at some real level, a local phenomena, dealing with the crisis on a national level is good for raising awareness but doesn't do much to address the specific causes of library downturns.

Are libraries doing poorly because people forgot about them? No, not mostly. Libraries are doing badly because people are having to make tough choices about where their money is going and they're chosing policemen over librarians. Libraries are having trouble because the cost of health care is going up by double digit percentages every year and you can bet that library funding is not increasing by the same amount. Libraries are having trouble because of the spiralling costs of serial subscriptions and the shady business practices of some of the former major players. Libraries are in trouble because aggressive "small goverment" advocates are hellbent on convincing people that spending public monies on them is wasteful. Librarians personally are in trouble because some of these library issues pit library vendors against library budgets and one organization -- the American Library Association -- represents the interests of both. I think ALA is doing a good job raising awareness of library issues, but I'd like to see them get to the roots of more of these problems so that we can have more open dialogue about where the money is and isn't going, and how we can realistically address that. Please also note the nod to the upcoming "librarian shortage" coming at a time when hundreds of library students can't find work and tell me how much ALA should be promoting higher library school enrollment?

[link to it] 5Jan05looted books, the austrian national library tries to set things right

Looted Books: The Austrian National Library confronts its Nazi Past.

"By staging this exhibition and by returning looted books, the Austrian National Library is not merely responding to a legal obligation. Moreover, the library feels it has a truly moral obligation to set things right and own up to its responsibility. This clear commitment does not stop here. Research on a comprehensive history of the National Library during this shameful period is currently underway and the results will published at the end of 2005." [thanks owen]

A quick nod to librarians in a longer article about Wikipedia. What do you think of this quote?

Of course librarians, teachers, and academics donít like the Wikipedia. It works without privilege, which is inimical to the way those professions operate.

Edmonton Public Library has a great page of resources for the tsunami disaster including a premade link to a catalog search for tsunami in the OPAC. [thanks kerry]

Salinas California is going to be the largest city in the US without a public library, setting a bad trend, I think. Mike McGrorty has a few suggestions of how to help. [thanks dsdlc]

A few more booklists: Jenica, librainiac, Anirvan [who runs bookfinder], Marissa, Rochelle, lazygal & Carolyne.

[link to it] 3Jan05add project gutenberg titles to your OPAC

Did you know you can add Project Gutenberg titles to your library catalog? The list of titles is now available in MARC format [or should be any minute now]. A few more PG feeds at this address.

When citizens enter a library, they want to see librarians and books. and 26 other rules for good library design. [thanks blake]

My secret stash of book on tape

"I wonder what my colleagues would think if they knew how much of my mental life is still enriched by spoken-word recordings. Listening to tapes while engaged in mindless but unavoidable activities, I get through about 30 books a year that I would not otherwise have read. It's almost like I'm sneaking in an extra half-lifetime of reading in the course of doing my ordinary chores, which have a way of getting done more thoroughly as a result of listening while I work." [thanks michael]

[link to it] 2Jan05best practices for OSPs

Because your library IS an Online Service Provider, and because your library has a commitment to patron privacy, you should read the EFF guide to Best Practices for Online Service Providers.

"OSP owners must deal with requests from law enforcement and lawyers to hand over private user information and logs. Yet, compliance with these demands takes away from an OSP's goal of providing users with reliable, secure network services. In this paper, EFF offers some suggestions, both legal and technical, for best practices that balance the needs of OSPs and their users' privacy and civil liberties."

A few more librarian booklists from 2004: Lis, Cedar, Brian, bookish, TangognaT's textfile, Steve, "The Cataloger" .... Any others? Keep in mind that I count graphic novels as books, as Lis counts long fanfic as books, so my numbers and your numbers may not be at all comparable.

People sent me links for a few libraries that have tsunami relief information: the Waterboro Library blog got something up the day after Christmas (not on the main page, but on the RSS feed for sure) and the University of Texas maps library. This huge disaster happening over the holiday season drives the point home that we're still offering much more in the way of services and up to date information during the hours we're open, than when we're closed. Check the statistics on your library web site. When are people coming to visit it? Our library page views go down when the library is closed, but they don't drop to zero. If your library home page doesn't change in response to massive world-changing events, doesn't that sent a message, however inadvertent, about the responsiveness and plugged-in-edness of the library itself? [thanks marylaine & elyssa]

Andrea puts together some thoughts about libraries and success. It seems that public institutions sometimes have a difficult time promoting services without going all in for the "your library is a business. the customer is always right." idea. I like my outreach job because I can do a lot of marketing and at the end of the day, not take peoples' money, just offer good service and a good [and improving] product. Do you think your patrons recommend your library?

Somewhat off-topic, I picked up a hitchhiker on Friday (I work near a ski area with very little public transportation, this is a fairly normal thing to do) and met a 20-something guy from the town I work in who worked at a local restaurant. I asked him if he'd been to the library lately and he confessed that he didn't have a card. I told him all about the library's fairly large DVD collection ("I just saw Bourne Supremacy last week...") and the usefulness of the internet access during power failures, and I'd be suprised if he didn't drop by and get a card if for no other reason than he can save money by doing what he normally does @ the library instead of @ Blockbuster. It doesn't take a french fry stand to make a library a success, you just need to figure out how to make the library worthwhile for people in the lives they are already living.

Librarians and others ask some questions of the Google Library Project. Compiled by Searcher Magazine's crack editor Barbara Quint. [buzz]

Some straight talk about current and future jobs in the profession. For new librarians from working librarians. Remember, the MLS is just the beginning of your job qualifications, and the librarian job shortage has likely been overstated. [lisnews]

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