Open Library lending digital books

This just in. The Open Library, you know that awesome website with the terrific design and great dataviz options, is lending digital books to anyone whose library has a working relationship with OverDrive. Gary Price explains more with links for further reading. I am very curious to see if a library without all the print-book baggage [disclaimer: I love to read print books also] can really make this ebook thing make real sense to people without the majority of the battling-licenses overhead that I think makes OverDrive seem so wonky in our brick and mortar libraries. Go to the lending library and see how it works. [thanks peter]

Tom Bruce’s plenary talk at Cornell, tech + librarianship + the Ivy League

Tom Bruce from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute talks about technologists being managed by non-technologists, and about the future of academic libraries in this thoughtful and amusing plenary talk.

In my experience, most of us don’t think about professions most of the time. We just get up and drag ass to work, whether we’re law teachers or opera singers or technologists or librarians or plumbers. We like to go to work if that is a place where our expertise is respected. And if we are not respected and we see ourselves as having little control over the very things for which we are held responsible, all of us get very, very unhappy. At the simplest level talk about professional models is nothing more and nothing less — on both sides — than displaced anxiety about where we stand in the workplace. Librarians have, for a long time, been able to draw some comfort and stability from trappings built up around the technology of print. That is going away. Technologists never had such a stable place to stand. And universities and law schools are particularly anxious workplaces now. So maybe we should spend less time debating professional models and concentrate on why it is that we need to talk about them so badly.

[thanks RepoRat]

Utica notes and slides

I gave a really fun talk in Utica, New York at the MidYork Library System lately. It was an overview of social tools [mainly how libraries are using Twitter and Facebook] with the added “how to make a widget” aspect that I think helps people envision real live things they could do with it. I used feed2js to make a new sidebar on for New York Times Best Sellers, all right in front of them. Without doing anything more complicated than copying and pasting. I’m happy that all the “bla bla RSS” talking we’ve been doing is now meeting web tools like My Yahoo and Google reader [and other standalone products] so that people can really quickly and easily set up revolving content on their otherwise static websites.

You can see my notes and slides here. Success with Social Networking. Thanks very much to the nice people at Mid-York for setting up such a fun day.

Being a librarian in the human library

A long while back there was a human interest story with an eye catching title “Check out a lesbian!” or som such. The idea was to explore the idea of predjudices by having a conversation with someone in a group you maybe didn’t know anyone in. The object, at some level, to be realizing we’re all people, expanding your horizons, etc. I had forgotten about it until recently until Ben Ropp sent me an email asking about it. Looks like the program, HUMAN Library, now has a nice website with a lot of extra “how to” information and some example libraries (and a longer list) worldwide that have tried it. I’m happy to see this project still going strong.