Top Ten Tips to Tackle Tech

Aaron has a great list of tips for making sure your tech works at your library. I can not stress #4 enough. If you want to provide public access computing and you don’t have time or money to train the entire public on your weird banjaxed system, make the computers in the library work like the ones they use at home and at work, or provide clear instructions when they don’t.

the great librarian shortage debate

ALA’s FAQ states there is or will be a shortage of qualified candidates for library positions. News articles support this assertion. It may be worth noting that their press kit about this shortage cites an article written January 1, 2002. Here are some stats from ALA’s own placement center. Do these numbers jibe? New librarians know there is also a shortage of jobs, because they’re looking for them. How do we explain the disparity between all these facts about the availability of library jobs? Here are a few ideas I have. Do you have others?

  • As librarians retire their jobs are eliminated due to funding crunches.
  • As librarians retire, senior librarians take their positions and open paraprofessional positions for the librarians who moved up.
  • Retiring librarians’ positions aren’t always available to newer librarians with less experience, so jobs requiring experience stay open as library students look for entry level jobs.
  • Professional organizations misrepresent the true state of library employment due to optimistic outlooks and in order to stay relevant and keep their own doors open.
  • As populations move around, some libraries are serving smaller populations with the same staff. Other libraries are serving larger populations with the same staff. Increases in population do not always reflect increases in staffing due to tight money situations and the false belief that automation has reduced our staffing needs.
  • It is not in library schools’ best financial interests to tell you that there are not many jobs available, or to take on fewer students to meet a reduced demand. There are many ways to interpret statistics, they choose ones that are most favorable.

Google as shill for fee based services

I was consoling a friend yesterday who is an expert in online and database searching. “Everyone wants to hear about Google” he said “my job is becoming all Google all the time” I paraphrase, but we all know how it is. I’ve become increasingly leery of Google lately as they form more and more partnerships with fee-based publishers and vendors and also index their sites for Google’s master index. Can anyone explain to me why a Google search for jessamyn ineligible academy [backstory] nets me five results, one of which is a PDF, with no accompanying “show as HTML” link, and flavortext that is from the article itself [or its abstract] that is not available via the linked site except through a subscription? I’m sure there’s an obvious explanation — like maybe the article was online for free and now it’s not — but why no HTML link, and where did that text come from if it’s not in the linked page? I sent Google a note and trolled their FAQ for details, but all I can deterrmine is that, according to the current FAQ, Google isn’t supposed to do that. I’d love to hear some reasons why it does.

Note from a reader, apparently Google Scholar may crawl full text, and show the abstract in the results, even if it only allows access to a citation. Is it too much to ask that Google have a way to avoid these fee-based results, or mark them somehow? I know how to remove PDFs from my search results, but not how to remove all non-full test sources. Even my library can do that. Then again, they’re not trying to make money off of their search results.

About Google Scholar crawling the full text from certain publisher sites — here’s what a Google spokesperson told us today: “…where we have permission to crawl a doc we will do so, but will only show an abstract.”

LoC Catalog Enrichment Initiative

The titles that libraries are removing to remote storage facilities often are the same ones that have the least rich library records, thus dooming them forever to being less and less frequently accessed. What to do? Enter the Library of Congress Catalog Enrichment Initiative.

users who rely on browsing the library shelf for the purposes of discovery and selection risk missing more and more material that might be of interest. Anecdotal and transaction log evidence has it that few use the browse feature of library online catalogs, not only because it is uninteresting visually but because the information users need in order to select what they want is not present. Until recently there has been no recourse except to the stacks.

hi – 20nov

Hi. The hardest thing about having a whole life and a whole blog is when you have to make choices between one and the other. I’m away this weekend at a wedding, I’ll be back for a few days and then I’m off to Australia with indeterminate access for two weeks. Of course, these notices were more important in pre-RSS days to keep you from clicking through to my page, getting annoyed that I never updated, and then never coming back. In any case, there is always more to say and I think heading into what we affectionately call the “big blue room” for a few days can’t hurt, can it?

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