How to “Get More from the Web than Google Will Tell You”

CIO, the companion website to CIO magazine, talked to me a few weeks ago about what people who only know how to search Google are missing out on, especially in a business/market research fashion. Here’s the article: Six Techniques to Get More from the Web than Google Will Tell You.

I don’t talk about it much lately, but when I was fresh out of library school I did some work doing market research and other miscellaneous stuff for a recruiter who worked a lot for and it was fascinating to look at the questions she’d ask to try to help them find the right person for the job. I had a sort of sideways approach to some of the topics we researched and that seemed to help her find good people. I like getting to talk to people about the importance of primary source material and the difference between going to a library’s list of good links on their website and talking to the librarian (in person or over IM) directly. I have mixed experiences talking to reporters but I was really happy with how Margaret Locher, an MLS holder herself, represented the things that Ann Cullen from Simmons and I told her.

hi – 27nov07

Hi. I used to start quite a large number of these posts this way, but I haven’t lately. This is just a little heads up about a few things that you might be interested in.

  • I’m adding a little holiday sidebar with a few links to things you can get your favorite librarian. I’ve seen a few things where I’ve been like “Oh, isn’t that clever/appropriate?” so I figured I’d add them. The woodblock link is to a MetaFilter buddy who makes and sells amazingly lovely woodblock prints and has a little “help me advertise” program that I figured I’d help with. If you have other links, to your own stuff or great stuff from others, add it to the comments and I’ll put it up. I’ll take the sidebar down after the holidays. Please don’t get me anything, I have all that I need.
  • I may not have mentioned it here, but I took the Vermont Library Association website and ported it over to a bloggish format using WordPress and a few choice plugins that do things like put the jobs on their own page withough putting them on the front page, and allow people to add posts that are also events on the sidebar. I’d love to say that it went off without a hitch but the process was a little bumpy, mostly because of difficulty figuring out who had passwords to which pieces of the site. Folks, make sure you get this stuff in your binders! The switch from having one webmaster to making groups more responsible for their own content is a challenge as well. I’m lucky to be supported strongly by the VLA president as well as Judah Hamer from my former library who does the diplomacy stuff while I do the coding stuff.
  • I’ll be speaking at a conference in Dubai at the end of next week which I am very excited about. My friend Step who you may know from her various blogs is working at Zayed University and I am speaking at their conference and then Step and I are leading a blogging/wiki workshop. It will be the first time I’ve been out of the country to a non-English speaking locale (I know many people speak English, but not compared to Australia or Canada) in years. I am making an assumption that there are not many readers in Dubai, but if anyone is, please look me up.

Issue: Library Consolidation in Indiana

One of the constant threats that small libraries have to contest with is threat of closure. In Vermont where I live many small libraries just barely stay open because people in the town advocate for them and the decision ultimately rests with the town. If they want to pay for it, they get to keep it. In Indiana there is a movement afoot to consolidate the state’s libraries to, I believe, one per county. It’s at the initial stages, a plan by the governor, at this point. Small libraries are discussion the issue wiht their boards, and other libraries. The plan would cut the total number of libraries from 238 to 92 via consolidation. This would, apparently save property tax money and “streamline” government somewhat. We’re talking about a state that has advertisements on its government site search. The Indiana State Library website doens’t have any immediately available information on this topic that I could find through basic searching.

It’s pretty clear that this would mostly shift library costs to the patron (travel, re-learning systems, fees?) and staff (lost jobs, retraining, commuting) and away from the funding bodies. So, sure there is money to be saved but would a reorganization scheme actually work? I find the concept chilling but I haven’t really started reading about it yet. For people who are interested in this issue, I suggest the Save Our Small Public Libraries blog and the INpublb archives (view by thread to find consoludation discussions) [ttw]

the most unusual books of the world

In wiki format: update: there was a gross image on the top of that page for a while which is the way of wikis sometimes. Someone alerted me to it (and here via comments) and said I should remove my link. Instead, I went in and cleaned up the wiki which has better long-term and wide-reaching results. Sorry folks, especially if this was your first goatse (safe link, I swear it!).[slowreading]

metacommentary – librarians are awesome, and clever

My web friend Mat Honan does a lot of neat stuff. He does triathalons, he writes for Wired, he goes traveling to interesting places. I follow him virtually via Vox and Flickr and other random places, not in a stalker-y way but just in a “hey this person is interesting” way. I think we have friends in common, but I don’t know him in person. So, when he started doing pay-per-post posts to his blog, I wasn’t sure if he was making a big joke or earnestly trying to make some money. His posts were definitely interesting and amusing, not taking themselves too seriously it seemed. However, I was and still am a little skeptical about this whole pay-for-placement thing. I keep an eagle eye out for it in libraryland, and I think many of us do. While I don’t think we’re perfect at this game by any stretch I like to think that you go to the library, and your librarian, to get objective information not filtered through shopping incentives, advertising and viral marketing.

I thought this was a worthwhile point to make, so I decided to pay Mat Honan to make it for me. Ten dollars well spent, I think. Don’t you?