reference IS cool

Get your Reference is Cool button from Salem Press. If you’d like, send them some visual verification.

Salem Press is inviting you to submit evidence that reference books, the people who use them, reference librarians and teachers are “cool.” We are using the expression ‘cool’ to mean ‘excellent’ or ‘first-class’ not the sense of the word that implies merely ‘acceptable’ or ‘satisfactory.’ It is permissible, but not required, that the person, action, thing or event be relaxed – cool. But not chilly, please.

former Health and Human Services Secretary chips himself

I don’t care if Tommy Thompson is going to chip himself, I’m still not sold on RFID technology for libraries as it’s being marketed and implemented currently. Let’s get real here. There’s a difference between voluntarily tagging yourself and having tagging being a prerequisite for your school or library. Would TT’s tag have his social security number on it? What about his library reading record? This article looks to be nothing more than a cheap stunt hyping VeriChip’s system of linking information on your chip to a database that could contain your health information. Like many nifty technology tools, this one only becomes useful when it becomes ubiquitous which seems to me to be a long ways off. Getting this sort of coverage would [or should] mean open standards to lower prices, encourage innovation, reduce vendor lock-in and encourage growth generally.

And, speaking of RFID, Laura Smart’s URL to her excellent Library RFID site has changed. You can find all her content here:

happy National Library Week, please shop here

I have read variants of this on four blogs so far today:

“ebrary is offering one year of free access to 55 library science titles to ALA members.  The collection will be integrated with the American Libraries digital archive. More info is available at

I’m an ALA member, and I may be thick as a brick, but nowhere on that page do I see anything looking like more information. Can anyone give me more actual information on this? Do I have to wait for National Library Week to start? If anyone has more information on finding these 55 periodicals I have free access to, I’d be very grateful.

update: apparently there are contextual menus available via right-click or control-click [see my picture here], as PLABlog alludes to. So you go to American Libraries online, highlight a word in the text of the magazine, from there you can search ebrary’s other content but, searching a word like librarian will get you to books with the word “librarian” in it, someplace. Alternately, you can search Yahoo maps,, [remember them?] and others. Clicking “explain” takes you to, “define” takes you to, “locate” gives you a choice of Mapquest, Yahoo Maps or National Geographic.

It’s all very bizarre, sort of like what I imagine a postmodern search engine would be like. There is no way to just do a keyword search of ebrary content, the box that looks like a keyword search is only for American Libraries. All searches open new browser windows. All content is shown to you in a window that is maximum 3/4 the width of your browser, and if you don’t close the table of contents window, it’s roughly 1/2 the window width. You cannot bookmark content in your browser, only through their in-house “bookshelf” feature. I’m just shutting it down now. The toolbar software that ebrary requires you to download before you can even use this interface has left white stripes across my screen even once it’s closed. I hope there’s something a little more welcoming there when National Library Week actively kicks off, but for now, that’s about as much “more information” as I can share with you.

allibris and oclc, sitting in a tree….

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?