Link roundup, things you might like

A good old fashioned linkdump


Public domain photograph by: US Navy, National Science Foundation. Link.

I’m back at home after meeting with a lot of terrific librarians in four different states. March is the busy month and after last month my plan is “not getting in a plane more than once a month for work.” I’ll be speaking with my good friend Michael Stephens at the Indiana Library Federation District Six conference next week. I’ll do a wrap-up of the talks I’ve been giving sometime later but news for me is mostly having more free time to actually attend things and not just speak at them. Getting to go to programs at the Tennessee Library Association conference and the National Library of Medicine’s New England Region one-day conference about social justice has really helped me connect with what other people are doing in some of the same areas I’m interested in. It’s sort of important to not just be a lone voice in the wilderness about some of this stuff, so in addition to the SXSW stuff (and talking to a great bunch of library school students in Columbia Missouri) getting to attend library events as an audience member has been a highlight of the past few weeks.

However I’ve been backed up on “stuff I read that I think other people might like to read.” Try as I may Twitter is still for hot potato stuff [i.e. Google's April Fools Joke specifically, I felt, for librarians] and not for things that I think merit more thoughtful or wordy presentation. So, as I enter the first Thursday in over a month where I get to hang out at home all day, I’m catching up, not on reading because there is tons of time for reading while traveling, but on passing some links around. So, here are some things you might like to read, from the past few months, newest first.

National Library Week, from Texas

I was in Texas this past week, again. I was attending possibly my favorite library conference, TXLA. Part of the deal I worked out as a speaker was that I would be registered for the entire conference so that I could go to other panels and talks and events. I did. I also took in a lot of Austin sights, saw a bunch of people, participated in a rally and gave a pretty good talk. My inbox filled up with links for National Library Week while I was away and only paying partial attention to my email. I’ll make another post about the conference specifically, but these are the links that I wanted to pass around, late though they may be.

some links I’ve been holding on to


I’m indoors refusing to move more than about four feet from the box fan. I am also attending to the last few emails in my inbox from people who sent me links or things they thought I’d like. Also I got caught up with my RSS feeds fairly quickly and now I feel like I’m reunited with a bunch of people. Not bad. Hi! Here are a few things that are worth passing on.

links about some good and bad things in libraryland

First off, I’d like to point out this question from Ask MetaFilter which asks the age old question “I am trying to automate my small school/church/club library. What software should I use?” I gave a few answers, as did a few other people, but the short answer is “There’s no good tool for this” as near as I can tell. Please let me know if I’m wrong.

A few more links people sent me over the last week or so.

some odds and ends from the mailbag

As per usual I’ve returned from holiday travelling with a lot of cool links to share and the admission that I’m behind on my blog reading — and this is me who is never behind, this is all deeply distressing to me — and I bet you are too. Anyhow, some things I’ve enjoyed reading over the past few days. I’m putting a Computers in Libraries column to bed today and it’s talking about widgets. I like talking about widgets.

  • Phone box becomes mini-library – small community in Somerset turns old phone box into a lending library/free box for books.
  • Portsmouth (NH) public library is having a documentary showing of DIY Nation + artist get together this weekend which looks like fun and a nifty type of program to boot. Plus I sort of stupidly like that they can link right to the book in their catalog. It’s 2009, how many of us can do that yet?
  • One line update/coda to the Des Moines photography situation from the DMPL marketing manager “At this month’s meeting, our board voted to remove the requirement that permission be granted for photos to be taken in our library.” Woo!
  • Curious to know what’s going to happen at the Hayward (CA) libraries when they go to a Netflix model for lending [pay up front, then no overdue fees]. Looking forward to seeing the crunched numbers at the end of this.
  • In another neat model, ArchivesNext reports on the Amsterdam City Archives’ “you ask we scan” approach to digitization. There are some linked slideshows and further data. Interesting model.

end of the week links

There was a while during which I’d pretty much only blog on Fridays. MetaFilter was a little more relaxed, I was catching up on things, I usually wasn’t working. The downside was that a lot of people weren’t reading many blogs on Fridays, so anything timely sort of seemed to fll between the cracks. Of course if I know it’s timely I want, Twitter and facebook have me covered. And yet, I really like having a blog. I like longer form explanations. I like telling you why I think something is intersting or special, more than just saying WANT. Anyhow, here are some links that didn’t fit in over the week. Certainly more than odds and ends, all of them worth a longer read.

  • Sarah Houghton-Jan talks about what it’s like to live with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Not just an interesting outline of what it’s like to have a misdiagnosed disease for a long time, but also what it’s like to live with chronic pain and a busy life. Many interesting notes in the comments as well.
  • Kevin Kelly writes about The Triumph of the Default. I’ve mentioned similar things before. It’s surprising to me how many novice computer users have no understanding that all software comes with a bunch of pre-set configuration options, all of which have a default setting, a setting that was chosen by someone who makes software. In many cases, these defaults affect our impression of how usable a piece of software is. Remember when the talking paperclip was the default help option for MS Word? Defaults are cultural choices, and most people don’t change them. we should learn more about them, as librarians, and think about our own presets (browser home pages, anyone?)
  • Seattle Public Library is implementing some new charges including overdue fines for ESL materials and a whopping $5 fee for ILLs. Some interesting data in the article including “7 percent of library cardholders are responsible for roughly 45 percent of the hold requests” No official mention on SPLs website yet. You can read the complete policy changes in this PDF document.
  • In another cost-cutting move, the state of Vermont is no longer going to be paying for our “branded” access to Webjunction. As near as I can tell, we still have access to all the same content, with the exception of continuing education classes, prompting me to wonder what exactly we were paying so much money for. The Continuing Ed discussion forums haven’t had a post made since November 2008.

a few things I would have emailed you about…

Hi there, I spent a chunk of my weekend selecting images from the NYPL digital valentine gallery and sending them around. Hope you had a decent weekend. I’m heading to San Francisco this week for the MaintainIT steering committee meeting. Should be an interesting time, the MaintainIT project has been an interesting one and they’ve produced some great information, but the funding cycle is ending and the big question is “What now?”

With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve been reading online over the past few days that didn’t hit escape velocity enough to merit their own post but that I thought you’d like.

  • The Future of Reading – a NYTimes article about a school librarian that doesn’t resort to the usual cliches and drives home the point that I like to make – in the age of information overload, being able to separate good information from bad is more important than ever and librarians can help you do that.
  • YANAL stands for You are Not a Lawyer – one of my favorite blogs, Freedom to Tinker talks about the difference between technology being able to introduce doubt into a legal proceeding (hey you have no idea if *I* was the one who downloaded that movie illegally) and what would happen to you if you’re even suspected (i.e. a world of hurt) so why you should understand the laws.
  • CRS Reports to the People – part 1, part 2. The Congressional Research Service writes white paper style reports for Congresspeople. These are generally not made available to the public despite being paid for with tax dollars and being incredibly useful and well-researched documents. FreeGovInfo has been agitating for them to be made publicly available as a general principle, not just continually leaked via Wikileaks or Open CRS
  • A portrait of Spencer Shaw, the first black librarian in Connecticut, who received a lifetime achievement award from the Black Caucus of ALA in 2005.
  • Freedom to Read week is next week in Canada. I like this idea of a readers’ holiday better than Banned Books Week.
  • TicTOCs a table of contents service. I was reading about this in Computers in Libraries and it’s great. RSS feeds of Tables of contents for many many journals. A great project.
  • Library phobia – my goal in my professional life is never to be the sort of librarian people are afraid of.

I’ll try to write some actual longer posts this week but I wanted you to know what I’d been reading

linkdump for october ’08

Again, here are a set of things that maybe don’t need their own post but are worth letting people know about.

I’ll be doing another post on blogs added to my feed reader lately. I had organized and culled and plumped up my feed reading list a few months back [down time on an airplane] and was all pleased but then the hurricane that was my HD crash set me back to the beginning. I’ve been reading some neat stuff that I’ll be sharing with you.

wrap-up before the wrap-up

As you know, I usually post the list of what I’ve read at around this time, but I haven’t read enough this year by my own admission so I will be adding a few more leftover links in this space and posting a “best of” list in a day or two. First of all check out what I saw in Boston.

sexy librarian?

It’s an ad for Sony’s “Reader Digital Book,” one of a zillion plastered all over the subway and train stations of Boston. I find it vaguely annoying, mostly because I find the commodifcation of reading annoying. The implication that some stupid computer is sexier than a real live person to help you with all your information needs? Stupid. Here are some other things left over from my inbox.

  • Well this was in my literal mailbox… I never renewed my ALA membership after 2006. Last week I got a “Hey former member, maybe you’d like to reconsider?” piece of junk mail from them. I’ve been very happy with my VLA contributions and interactions, moreso than I ever was with ALA. While I’m happy to see the good things that ALA is doing, the fact that I basically did everything I could to get off of spammy mailing lists and emailing lists only to continue to hear from them is a bit disheartening. That said, my ALA website logins still work despite me not having paid them a thing. It all balances.
  • The Michigan University Librarian has a blog. Not a lot there but I really enjoyed the first post: Being in Bed with Google.
  • Washington state is the latest battlefield in the “let’s cut library positions in schools to save money” debacle. There is a very organized group called Fund Our Future Washington that is trying to stop this problem before it starts. Here’s an LA Times article with more information and a good recent supportive editorial from the Seattle Times.
  • I am revising my review policy. People mostly don’t read it anyhow. In short, I am reading less and have less time for unsolicited books. While I still like to receive books that people think I may like, I do not want to set expectations inappropriately. The short form is: if you will be upset if I do not read your book, please do not send it to me.

That’s it until the booklist. Happy New Year!