First off, I’d like to point out this question from Ask MetaFilter which asks the age old question “I am trying to automate my small school/church/club library. What software should I use?” I gave a few answers, as did a few other people, but the short answer is “There’s no good tool for this” as near as I can tell. Please let me know if I’m wrong.
A few more links people sent me over the last week or so.
As per usual I’ve returned from holiday travelling with a lot of cool links to share and the admission that I’m behind on my blog reading — and this is me who is never behind, this is all deeply distressing to me — and I bet you are too. Anyhow, some things I’ve enjoyed reading over the past few days. I’m putting a Computers in Libraries column to bed today and it’s talking about widgets. I like talking about widgets.
- Phone box becomes mini-library – small community in Somerset turns old phone box into a lending library/free box for books.
- Portsmouth (NH) public library is having a documentary showing of DIY Nation + artist get together this weekend which looks like fun and a nifty type of program to boot. Plus I sort of stupidly like that they can link right to the book in their catalog. It’s 2009, how many of us can do that yet?
- One line update/coda to the Des Moines photography situation from the DMPL marketing manager “At this monthâ€™s meeting, our board voted to remove the requirement that permission be granted for photos to be taken in our library.” Woo!
- Curious to know what’s going to happen at the Hayward (CA) libraries when they go to a Netflix model for lending [pay up front, then no overdue fees]. Looking forward to seeing the crunched numbers at the end of this.
- In another neat model, ArchivesNext reports on the Amsterdam City Archives’ “you ask we scan” approach to digitization. There are some linked slideshows and further data. Interesting model.
There was a while during which I’d pretty much only blog on Fridays. MetaFilter was a little more relaxed, I was catching up on things, I usually wasn’t working. The downside was that a lot of people weren’t reading many blogs on Fridays, so anything timely sort of seemed to fll between the cracks. Of course if I know it’s timely I want, Twitter and facebook have me covered. And yet, I really like having a blog. I like longer form explanations. I like telling you why I think something is intersting or special, more than just saying WANT. Anyhow, here are some links that didn’t fit in over the week. Certainly more than odds and ends, all of them worth a longer read.
- Sarah Houghton-Jan talks about what it’s like to live with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Not just an interesting outline of what it’s like to have a misdiagnosed disease for a long time, but also what it’s like to live with chronic pain and a busy life. Many interesting notes in the comments as well.
- Kevin Kelly writes about The Triumph of the Default. I’ve mentioned similar things before. It’s surprising to me how many novice computer users have no understanding that all software comes with a bunch of pre-set configuration options, all of which have a default setting, a setting that was chosen by someone who makes software. In many cases, these defaults affect our impression of how usable a piece of software is. Remember when the talking paperclip was the default help option for MS Word? Defaults are cultural choices, and most people don’t change them. we should learn more about them, as librarians, and think about our own presets (browser home pages, anyone?)
- Seattle Public Library is implementing some new charges including overdue fines for ESL materials and a whopping $5 fee for ILLs. Some interesting data in the article including “7 percent of library cardholders are responsible for roughly 45 percent of the hold requests” No official mention on SPLs website yet. You can read the complete policy changes in this PDF document.
- In another cost-cutting move, the state of Vermont is no longer going to be paying for our “branded” access to Webjunction. As near as I can tell, we still have access to all the same content, with the exception of continuing education classes, prompting me to wonder what exactly we were paying so much money for. The Continuing Ed discussion forums haven’t had a post made since November 2008.
Hi there, I spent a chunk of my weekend selecting images from the NYPL digital valentine gallery and sending them around. Hope you had a decent weekend. I’m heading to San Francisco this week for the MaintainIT steering committee meeting. Should be an interesting time, the MaintainIT project has been an interesting one and they’ve produced some great information, but the funding cycle is ending and the big question is “What now?”
With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve been reading online over the past few days that didn’t hit escape velocity enough to merit their own post but that I thought you’d like.
- The Future of Reading – a NYTimes article about a school librarian that doesn’t resort to the usual cliches and drives home the point that I like to make – in the age of information overload, being able to separate good information from bad is more important than ever and librarians can help you do that.
- YANAL stands for You are Not a Lawyer – one of my favorite blogs, Freedom to Tinker talks about the difference between technology being able to introduce doubt into a legal proceeding (hey you have no idea if *I* was the one who downloaded that movie illegally) and what would happen to you if you’re even suspected (i.e. a world of hurt) so why you should understand the laws.
- CRS Reports to the People – part 1, part 2. The Congressional Research Service writes white paper style reports for Congresspeople. These are generally not made available to the public despite being paid for with tax dollars and being incredibly useful and well-researched documents. FreeGovInfo has been agitating for them to be made publicly available as a general principle, not just continually leaked via Wikileaks or Open CRS
- A portrait of Spencer Shaw, the first black librarian in Connecticut, who received a lifetime achievement award from the Black Caucus of ALA in 2005.
- Freedom to Read week is next week in Canada. I like this idea of a readers’ holiday better than Banned Books Week.
- TicTOCs a table of contents service. I was reading about this in Computers in Libraries and it’s great. RSS feeds of Tables of contents for many many journals. A great project.
- Library phobia – my goal in my professional life is never to be the sort of librarian people are afraid of.
I’ll try to write some actual longer posts this week but I wanted you to know what I’d been reading
Again, here are a set of things that maybe don’t need their own post but are worth letting people know about.
I’ll be doing another post on blogs added to my feed reader lately. I had organized and culled and plumped up my feed reading list a few months back [down time on an airplane] and was all pleased but then the hurricane that was my HD crash set me back to the beginning. I’ve been reading some neat stuff that I’ll be sharing with you.