Monday, March 26, 2007

University of Michigan - Social Computing specialization

The University of Michigan's School of Information is adding six new specialty areas to their existing Masters of Science Information program that currently includes a Library Information Sciences (LIS) specialization. Of interest is the Social Computing Specialization (SC):

"Students pursuing a specialization in Social Computing learn to analyze online social interactions, both in online communities and in more diffuse social networks. They learn about features of social computing technologies so they can recognize opportunities to put them to use in new settings and make good choices about alternative implementations."(SI MSI Degree, 3/26/07)

With today's climate in librarianship, a course or two in social computing would definitely be beneficial to library information science students.

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The following was posted to the EBSS list by Nancy Cawley, Communications Lead, ERIC Project. Since Nancy asked for help in getting the word out regarding recent ERIC initiatives and features, here is the information:

"The library community plays an important role in getting the word out about ERIC's new features and initiatives. ERIC is seeking your help in informing members of the education research community about opportunities at the AERA Annual

Meeting to learn more about developments that will enhance access to research: The new Find in a Library feature that permits access to libraries’ full-text holdings or WorldCat as part of an ERIC search at; An initiative to obtain author permissions to release digitized full text of some 340,000 microfiche documents developed between 1966 and 1992; Citation management and other support tools for researchers within the My ERIC personalized space; and The option to include a structured abstract as part of the easy online submission of a conference paper or research paper."

"The research-oriented features and activities described above, and more, will be discussed in two special AERA presentations: (1)ERIC: Advances in Access to Education Research and Information Special Interest Group: Communication of Research Presenters: Luna Levinson, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences; Christina Dunn, Director, National Library of Education; Lawrence Henry, CSC Program Manager, ERIC Tuesday, April 10 12:25 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. Sheraton/Michigan/Level 2, and (2) ERIC: Your Education Research Tool Presenter: Larry Henry, CSC Program Manager, ERIC Wednesday, April 11 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Marriott Chicago Downtown Northwestern Room (6th floor). "

"ERIC is also exhibiting in Booth #608 in the Hyatt Regency Exhibit Hall."

AERA is the American Educational Research Association and their 2007 annual conference is being held Monday, April 9 thorugh Friday, April 13th in Chicago.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Shut Down Day 2007

Can You?

In 8 hours, 36 minutes, 37 seconds and counting it will be Shutdown Day 2007; have you heard about this? Their web page dares you to:

"Be a part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the internet. The idea behind the experiment is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate! Shutdown your computer on this day and find out! Can you survivve for 24 hours without your computer?" (, 3/23/07).

Naturally there are accompanying YouTube videos and I finally succombed and created a YouTube account so I could post one of them. Unfortunately it seems I can not embed it within this post, so it has a post of it's own directly above this one.

I am not scheduled to work this weekend, so this would not be a work issue. Not using my computer on Saturday would not be problematic, but in the interest of full disclosure, I will be out of town this weekend and my computer will be here. Aside from the novelty of not using your computer for a day, the concept itself has interesting connotations for a library. Consider how difficult it would be to find books for patrons, conduct research, find journal articles, or check out books without the computer. Not that it would be impossible, but when was the last time a reader's guide was used? I used one for the first time in my academic career last term to help a student find a book review for a title published in the late 1970's for a project. I wonder how many libraries still have an updated guide.

Sure, we could easily get by for several hours or a weekend with a bit of work and complaints from patrons. I am left to ponder this on a Friday afternoon; is it a good thing or a bad thing that we would not be able to run the library without computers for an extended period of time? Or, is it neither and just how things have evolved? A sign of the changing times.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

ALA Direct: Seen Online

One last post on the Newbery Award winner, its subsequent controversy, and the ensuing discussions .... Today's American Libraries Direct (3/21/07) has a link in Seen Online to Carol Lay's comic strip, Waylay, featured in Salon. It begins:

"I ruffled some feathers recently by riffing on a New York Times article about an award-winning children's book. A few librarians had objected to the use of the word 'scrotum' and had promised to boycott the book." (A-mends, 3/21/07)

Here's the link: Carol Lay, A-Mends. It is possible to click past the registration and view the cartoon without much issue.

The end made me smile.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Read this: Changing Roles of Academic and Research Libraries

ACRLog has posted this article link, ACRL Summit Report On Changing Role of Academic Libraries Now Available, to the following essay, Changing Roles of academic and Research Libraries. The essay was "derived from a Roundtable on Technology and Change in Academic Libraries, convened by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) on November 2-3, 2006, in Chicago" (ACRL, 3/20/07). ACRL is soliciting, née welcoming, "comments, thoughts, reflections, and reactions" submitted on their blog posting.

A response to the essay was prepared by Julie Todaro, ACRL VP/Pres-Elect and is linked from the article. Unfortunately, the link is broken (I tried it just a minute ago) and leads readers to ALA's infamous web redesign message and Todaro's ACRL VP page is comprised mostly of "coming soon."

I am sure the link will be updated.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

ALAO Info & stuff

Spring break has come and gone, and for me included five inches of snow. The first two hours of my Monday morning have been spent catching up electronically with email (did I really need 250 email in a week?) and blogs, as well as paper oriented with journals and student worker payroll. Two quick items of interest from ALAO this week; balloting is open for ALAO elections and the 2007 president's speaker has been announced on the 2007 conference website.

  • ALAO Elections are under way and Thursday, March 22, is the deadline for casting your electronic ballot. If you are a current ALAO member, or on the ALAO list serv, notifications have arrived in your inbox from co-webmaster Frank Bove. Offices to be filled by this 2007 election are Vice President/President Elect, Treasurer, PR Coordinator, and at large Board members. Candidate statements are available on the ALAO web site, you must be a member to vote, and member login information is included in the email.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Taking a circular route

ABC's Good Morning Americahad a short piece this morning with an interesting take regarding college students use of social networking sites. The piece, now an article on the ABC news site, After Years of Telling All, 20 Somethings Start to Clam Up, also discussed options for those who want to have their information removed from web sites. The article highlights an anonymous law school student who even with stellar grades and an impeccable resume was unable to secure a job in a law firm. After investigating she realized her job search was, in effect, being sabotaged by other people hijacking her personal Facebook pictures and posting them explicit comments on a message board. While none of the HR firms interviewed would admit to doing Internet searches on potential new hires, it is an open secret.

It has been a couple of years since I Googled myself to see what still lives on the Internet. After all, being told cyberspace is forever and seeing it are two different things. I took a few minutes this morning and searched. Most of returns were AU library, IRC, CMCIG, ALAO, and blog related. I did find a few understandable oddities; a PUBLIB list serv archive question from September 1999 (I was required to post a question for class) and a web page where an author cited a library handout I created in 2002 because I cited her article in the handout. Two of the most interesting results were blogging search engines IceRocket and LibWorm.

According to the About IceRocket page, they are "pioneering commercial search by putting the interests and wants of consumers before advertisers. IceRocket has innovative blog search technology to search blogosphere. " Arriving at IceRocket Blog Search via a blog post entry from Google, curiosity compelled me to see what I could find. I typed in my name, selected the "exact phrase" option, clicked search, and 345 posts authored by me returned! It seemed excessive until I realized the IRC blog easily has over 400 posts for collection development and information; add in this blog, the IRC book review blog, and CMCIG blog, and suddenly the number is not all that staggering. A perusal of several results pages revealed they were authored by me with the earliest dated 8/29/06 and most recent 3/5/07 (Monday). I was intrigued by a statistical selection, a small green icon next to different entries enumerating outside links. There were icons next to Library Cloud posts, but they did not work. Icons attached to other people's listings did work, so it may be linked the track back option in blogger that is not currently active here.

LibWorm is another blog search engine, "a professional development tool, and a current awareness tool for people who work in libraries or care about libraries." The main page states "Search the Biblioblogosphere and Beyond" and referres to itself as "the librarian RSS engine" with over 1500 available feeds. I first noticed this search engine a month or so ago when it was an outside link in the Library Cloud StatCounter account. When it was part of the returns for my initial Google search this morning, I decided to take another look at the product. A simple search returned over 282 records with only the first two pages actually belonging to me (as an author). An "exact phrase" search returned 44 records, only two pages, all of which were Library Cloud posts authored by me. LibWorm encourages you to create an account and submit a feed. I did create an account, but our feed already existed. Both of these blog search engines provide opportunities to search for library specific information. I have not used either beyond doing quick "me" searches, but they are worth a second look.

Tags: Social networking concerns, IceRocket, LibWorm, Blog search engines

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Live Discussions: The Chronicle

The Chronicle of Higher Education is hosting a Live Discussion this afternoon, 2 pm eastern, titled "Why Johnny Can't Search (Intelligently)." From the discussion page:

"No matter how tech-savvy today's students are, many of them doing research online cannot distinguish infomercials from facts. A movement led by librarians to teach information literacy has caught on across the country, but some faculty members say such efforts are nothing new. What is the best way to teach students how to find and evaluate online information? Is information literacy best incorporated into the curriculum or taught as a separate subject? What is the best way to measure students' skills in this area?" (Chronicle, 3/7/07)

The guides speaker is Diana G. Oblinger; a vice president of Educause. Transcripts are to be availble after the discussion.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

ALAO - CMCIG Workshop

Are you interested in children's and young adult literature and curriculum materials? Do you supervise student workers in your library? If so, the CMCIG spring workshop is for you.

ALAO's Curriculum Materials Center Interest Group will hold its annual spring workshop on Friday, May 18, 2007, from 8:30 until 3:45, at the Instructional Materials Center in the
King Library of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The workshop, "Dynamic CMCs: Tools to Improve Service," will feature the following sessions:

  • Treasures of Children's Literature at Miami University
    Janet Stuckey, Special Collections, Miami University

  • Children's and Young Adult Literature - the Favorites, Old & New!
    Elaine Fultz, Weller Elementary,
    Centerville City Schools

  • Annual CMCIG business meeting
    During the business meeting, we need to elect a new chair for the 2007-2008 academic year. Please consider becoming more involved with the CMCIG and ALAO by offering to stand for this position.
For more information, and to register for the workshop, please go to the workshop website. Please contact Greg Martin, CMCIG chair, with questions regarding the workshop.

ALAO Interest Groups often host spring workshops in addition to sponsoring sessions at the ALAO annual conference. Workshops are a great way to become involved in an active and vital state-level professional organization.

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