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 http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ala

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, Biography.com, Excite.com [remember them?] and others. Clicking “explain” takes you to Britannica.com, “define” takes you to m-w.com, “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.

thousands of hits, good news or bad?

Somehow missed this last week — an excellent point/counterpoint [in the form of a blog entry and comment] over at the OCLC blog. Topic? That ongoing “Do we make the library more like Google, or make Google more like the library?” I think it also points out another hidden conflict area that is fast becoming a favorite topic of mine: to what extent do we let the software dictate the way the user can search, and hopefully find? ALA’s ballots are being distributed over a one week [for e-ballots] or two week [paper] schedule. Why can’t we send them all at once? Because ALA worries about server overload problems. Is this saving the time of the user? Does Google?

Pretend you’ve never ever been in a large library. Pretend you know absolutely nothing about taxonomies. Pretend you don’t know the difference between a magazine, a journal, an index and a book. Pretend you don’t know what you don’t know, and don’t know how to articulate your unknowingness. Once you’ve pretended all this, make a pretend visit to a very large library for the first time.

ALA Elections – some picks

I haven’t spoken much about who I’m voting for in the ALA Elections because I suspect only a very small subset of you care, and because I haven’t even gotten my ballot yet. That said, Library Juice has two lists of picks from people who I generally agree with politically. If you are a voter in the ALA elections, vote for people you know, don’t just use all your votes because you have them. Bullet voting makes each vote count every so slightly more. Leslie Burger is my pick for president, but then again I voted for Michael Gorman.