Monday, July 30, 2007

Blogging librarians

Are you a librarian that blogs? Are you interested in learning more about the librarian blogosphere? If so, take a few minutes and complete a survey developed by Meredith Farkas, author of the Information Wants to be Free Blog:

“If you consider yourself a “biblioblogger,” please consider taking this survey and pass the word on to other library-related bloggers. The more people who fill it out, the better picture we will have of the characteristics of the library blogosphere. I’m looking for both people in the profession who have blogs and people who blog at their library as part of an official library blog. You don’t have to have an MLS to be a part of the survey and you don’t have to work in a traditional library setting. If you consider yourself a part of the profession and you blog, please do take part. I’ll probably keep the survey open for four weeks.” (Farkas, 7/29/07)

Check out the 2007 Survey of the Biblioblogsphere. Thanks to Walt at Random for pointing readers to this information in his post: Surveying the State of Liblogs.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Learn something new ...

Library inventory has made its way, along with the technical services assistant responsible for completing the process, to the juvenile collection. Working through the collection triplicates are considered for removal (weeding), spine labels are replaced, missing items are sometimes located, and an occasional book catches her attention which she, in turn, often brings to my attention. For both of us, yesterday was an instance of the latter in the form of Bang, Bang You’re Dead (1969) by Louise Fitzhugh and Sandra Scoppettone (photo c. 1969).

In Bang, Bang, You’re Dead, James and his friends, dressed as Cowboys and Indians and outfitted with toy guys, decide to play war. In the gleeful manner of young boys, a fight to the death ensues and concludes in a celebratory manner with ice cream for everyone. One day a second group of children lays claim to their hill and an ownership fight ensues, only this time it is with fists and blood and injury. The ultimate question of winning is voiced and met with James realization that “Nobody won.” Fitzhugh’s pencil illustrations present an oddly multicultural group for the time period and she does not minimize the violence depicted by their war. In the end, a quiet and appropriate moral of getting along is addressed when the boys decide to play war together, tomorrow.

A bit disconcerted with the graphic violence and unseemly topic portrayed, further investigation was warranted and revealed both a copyright date of 1969 and a date due slip last used in 1986. Asked if it should be removed from our collection, I determined it had intrinsic value for studying social issues in children’s literature and said no. Why? Thirty-eight years ago children playing war was commonplace, as were toy guns and stereotypical instances of Cowboys and Indians. The underlying theme of peace and “playing together” during the Vietnam War makes it historically and culturally significant from a juvenile literature standpoint.

I did a bit of Internet research this morning on Louise Fitzhugh and while a children’s literature scholar would be shaking their head at my lack of knowledge and naiveté, I found what I was looking for – in spades. Amongst other things, Fitzhugh is the author of Harriet the Spy and well known for her social commentary, writing, and illustrations during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Among the interesting information I found is a review of Bang, Bang, You’re Dead, from Time Magazine, July 13, 1969 (scroll down), posted on the Time/CNN website:

“BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD, by Louise Fitzhugh and Sandra Scoppettone, illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh (Harper & Row; $3.95). Four scruffy kids playing "army" on a hill learn more about war than they bargained for when the rules change and fighting becomes real. A cheerful book despite its moral.” (Time, 7/25/07)

Internet Resources:

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Library Cloud News

Welcome to our new Library Cloud contributor, Karen Plummer. Karen is an Associate Professor, AV/Special Materials Cataloger, at The University of Akron's Bierce Library. Anyone familiar with the Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) will recognize Karen's web authoring skills and board contributions as one of ALAO's webmasters. A familiar face at ALAO conferences, Karen has been an active member of the past four conference planning committees. On her Blogger profile, Karen has indicated her interest in "standards-based web design, metadata, cataloging, computers" and technology.

Welcome Karen!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New from AL Focus

Two new conference video links arrived in my AL Direct email this morning. Since instructions to embed the videos on a blog, "Copy and paste this code (make sure you get all of it) into your blog to embed it," are provided I'll post both of them here. Word of warning, I have had little luck viewing either of these in real time this morning. Even with Flash 9 downloaded there was a significant wait time while the videos loaded from Blip TV.

And yes, ALA is aware of this because they already have video help posted on the page.

Either way, there is a lot of traffic signifying a great deal of interest in these videos and/or our network connection is slow; regardless it is requiring more patience and time to view than I have available this morning. I will stop back later.

5 Days in 3 1/2 Minutes: Annual 2007 Wrap Up
AL Focus - July 16, 2007 - posted by Daniel

The Greg Show #1
AL Focus - July 13, 2007 - posted by Greg

Updated: 7/20/07

I removed the embedded shows late Friday afternoon; the slow connections with BlipTV were dragging down general load times for other page elements in the blog, including sidebar widgets and photographs. Links to these videos still work and will take you directly to AL Focus for viewing.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Internet Archives: The Open Library

LibraryThing's Thingology Blog has an interesting post this morning about Open Library, an Internet Archives project.

"Imagine a library that collected all the world's information about all the world's books and made it available for everyone to view and update. We're building that library." (The Open Library, 7/17/07)

Intrigued, I selected King Lear and found 28 different entries. After refining my search to eng (chosen because there were 26 results for "eng" and only 2 for "English") I was able to peruse the "catalog" results and find more than one full text copy of the play. While it took some time to locate a title actually containing the play, I browsed: The plays of William Shakespeare in ten volumes, with corrections and illustrations of various commentators by Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 Johnson, Samuel, 1649-1703 Steevens, George, 1736-1800 Reed, Isaac, 1742-1807. Published in London, 1778, this particular volume (IX) was contributed by University of California Libraries and included the plays Troilus and Cressida, Cymbeline, and King Lear.

The graphics interface is visually appealing with full text selections dispayed as an open book. Users are able to manipulate the book using arrows, paging via your mouse, or investigate specific topics using the search box provided. Beginning on page 347, King Lear was the third of three plays in the volume so I tried, unsucessfully, to use the search box (it never returned any results). Instead of advancing through three hundred pages, I clicked my mouse toward the last third of the book, clicking the mouse over various pages to fast-forward, this method also displayed a "leaf" number, but the count was not the acutal page number. The display provides opportunity for magnifying the book and/or listening to an audio version; unfortunately while the links worked neither perk is yet available hence the "early technology preview" notice on Open Library's main page.

I have a few reservations concerning the Wikipedia-like atmosphere, but was overall impressed with the scope of the project. For those of us worried about copyright, from the About Us section:

"We hooked it up to the Internet Archive's book scanning project, so that you can read the full text of all the out-of-copyright books they've made available. And we hope to add a print-on-demand feature, so that you can get nice paper copies of these scanned books, as well as a scan-on-demand feature, so you can fund the scanning of that out-of-copyright book you've always loved." (About Us, 7/17/07)

There is no comparison to holding a book in my hand, but it was definitely interesting to look at a 229 year old copy of Shakespeare. I've bookmarked the site on my browser and will check back again.

Update: 7/18/07
More information about this project may be found at ACRLog: Open Library Opens

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Stale cookies

Today the Official Google Blog announced a new privacy practice - Cookies: Expiring Sooner to Improve Privacy.

"After listening to feedback from our users and from privacy advocates, we've concluded that it would be a good thing for privacy to significantly shorten the lifetime of our cookies — as long as we could find a way to do so without artificially forcing users to re-enter their basic preferences at arbitrary points in time. And this is why we’re announcing a new cookie policy." (Peter Fleischer, Google Blog, 7/16/07)

How much of this new policy is indeed intended to protect the privacy of users - as opposed to answering criticism regarding Googles practices - is still open to discussion.

See also: Big Brother Google and Is it OK That Google Owns Us?

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Deja pipes and Blogger draft

One blog not in my bloglines account is Blogger Buzz; after all, once logged into to Blogger it displays directly below the dashboard for all asunder to see. There have been recent notices discussing Blogger in Draft and several functions currently in beta format, the not ready for primetime ideas and widgets. Yesterday I noticed two things, the first a search box widget for blogs and the second a mention of Pipes (yes, a Yahoo development on Google-owned Blogger).

Naturally curious about a search box widget I signed in to Blogger Draft with my regular Blogger login and explored. You are able to set tabs that display when the search box is utilized and choose from a list of predetermined links. I chose the "this blog" and "linked from here" options and let the page element choose my link lists. Search results display with a This Blog header, the link list, and the blog posts returned.

The sample search image (left) was for ALAO and returned four posts with an option for more results. In what could be labeled an odd quirk, yesterday searching for alao verses ALAO returned completely different posts; "alao" had no posts, "ALAO" had the most recent four plus. This morning both searches returned the same posts, guess that's why the widget is in draft. As a plus, the search box results display within the blog and may be closed, returning the user to the original blog post. This, I liked.

I have already added the search box on my AU library blogs. It will be a useful tool for users to search for particular books on the collection and book review blog and possibly more so for students using the 131/504 blog to find topics specific to assignments.

Google's recent acquisition
of Feedburner has added a few interesting perks (see More for Free) to existing accounts. In the Attention Feedburner Fans and the Feedburner Integration for Blogspot Blogs posts, both entities are promoting a new service to make feeds work more efficiently.

"... you can now specify a URL to which Blogger will redirect your feed's traffic. This means you'll no longer have some subscribers getting your Blogger-hosted feed while others get your FeedBurner feed, and your subscriber count should (as a result) be more accurate." (Blogger Buzz, 7/11/07)

Look closely at the post for this note:

"Note: this feature isn't limited to FeedBurner alone - you can use any feed-mashing service (like Pipes) with it." (Blogger Buzz, 7/11/07)

Feed-mashing, another new term.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Looking at Pipes

One of the topics Matt Barnes discussed during his portion of the Technical Services 2.0 session at ALA was "mashups." As I understood it, a mashup combines elements from different web resources and combines them into one usable element pursuant with the developers wants/needs. Most importantly, it is a skill used generally by hackers and those involved in open source software programming (see again the statement "as I understood it"). I found it an interesting premise, but one I would most assuredly not be using in the near future. Now it seems there is a way for the average user to create mashups.

A Test Drive review by Jeff Hastings in the June issue of School Library Journal highlights Yahoo!Pipes, "an interactive data aggregator and manipulator that lets you mashup your favorite online data sources." (About Pipes, Yahoo) Hastings briefly defines mashups, details his first experimental use of the service, and defines Yahoo! Pipes.

"Yahoo! Pipes consists of information gathering and processing modules that you select and drag onto a grid and then connect, flowchart style. You select what goes into your pipe and reprocess it to get the results you want spewing out the other end. There are modules that fetch, count, filter, combine, and sort information from RSS feeds, as well as modules that interpret, extract, and import location data so that you can regionalize your pipe’s output. You can also plug in services like BabelFish and Flickr to translate or associate images with your pipe’s content." (Hastings, SLJ, 6/1/07)

I have the site, and Hastings' article, bookmarked with my blog items. It looks a bit complicated, sounds like fun, and may have interesting uses in libraries; create specific mashups for classes and users.

Below is a quick sampling of web definitions:

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Friday, July 06, 2007

ALA Conference: Technical Services 2.0

Though not a technical services librarian, cataloger, systems librarian or any meaningful derivative thereof, I am an academic librarian interested in wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, social bookmarking and various other technologies included in the program description for the last session I attended at ALA Annual; Technical Services 2.0: Using Social Software for Collaboration, sponsored by Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALACTS) and Acquisitions Section (AS) was held Monday, June 25th from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Moderated by Rick Lugg of R2 Consulting, this session featured:

All three speakers were well versed in their subject areas and presented appealing information regarding the use of 2.0 technologies in libraries. However, I have to admit I was most interested, actually intrigued is more accurate, with the library social bookmarking project presented by Picknally Camden.

Penn Tags is “a social bookmarking tool for locating, organizing, and sharing your favorite online resources. Members of the Penn Community can collect and maintain URLs, links to journal articles, and records in Franklin, our online catalog and VCat, our online video catalog.”(About Penn Tags)

Developed in-house at UPenn, anyone may view the project but only authorized users, UPenn login is required, are able to create and maintain tags. This process promotes a sense of ownership and responsibility for individuals involved in the folksonomy of tagging. As with many social bookmarking products, the more people using any given tag, the larger font used to display it within the over all tag cloud (at the time of this post, items in the cloud were tags used at least 66 times). It was my understanding that the project has yet to undergo a serious marketing push, but users have found it via the best grass roots marketing tool possible, word-of-mouth. What a great indication that Penn Tags has filled a niche within the 2.0 library.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

A new sidebar widget

Hidden amongst the ALA Conference postings is this brief explanation of a new sidebar widget for Library Cloud. The Technorati Blog Widget works in conjunction with Technorati Tags added to our posts to create the Top Tags on Library Cloud displayed in the sidebar. This cloud differs somewhat from both the ZoomCloud already in place; it feeds from all of the words in our posts, and the Blogger post labels added by both intrepid Library Cloud bloggers.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

ALA: Poster Sessions

This year marked the 26th Annual ALA Poster Session. The 2007 Annual Poster Session Abstracts booklet presents a history of the sessions stating that they "cover a broad range of subjects grouped according to such areas as management, collection development, technology, reference, and library services to special groups." (More information about poster sessions may be found here.)

There were six specific sessions of twenty posters scheduled throughout a three day period, June 23rd - 25th, totalling 120 posters of different ideas and topics from a diverse group of presenters. Poster sessions were in the exhibit hall, and even though a last minute change of location from one end of the hall to the other made finding them a bit challenging, I was very pleased with the interest generated.

My first poster session, Keep Blogging Along: Side by Side Library Blogs, was 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 24th, part of Poster Session IV: Outreach: Posters on Interlibrary Cooperation, Library Services to Special Groups, and Reference, and Information Services.

Presenting a poster is a great opportunity to converse one-on-one with people who are interested in your session topic. I had occasion to talk at length with current and budding bloggers about projects that worked, ones that did not live up to their potential, and how to determine the difference. There was significant interest in the blog widgets, particularly in how I was using LibraryThing in conjunction with the library specific blogs in IRC (unbeknownst to me, there was a session prior to poster time slot featuring a speaker from LibraryThing), as well as time management and blog purpose.

A Tale of Collaboration: The Art of the Picture Book Conference was 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25, part of Session V: Connections: Posters on Cooperation with Non-Library Institutions and Agencies, Interlibrary Loan, Library Use Instruction, and Public Awareness.

Thanks to everyone who stopped to talk and my apologies, again, to the last dozen or so people who did not get one of the blog poster session information/handout CD's. As promised, I have posted the CD information from both sessions online:

Tags: 2007 ALA Annual Washington, D.C., Poster sessions, ALA, Academic Library Blogs, Academic Libraries and collaboration

American Libraries video

American Libraries debuted a video history at the opening session in D.C. last week. After seeing it fly by in less than five minutes, I was pleased to see the video posted at American Libraries, inside ALA. And, since they offered, I added it here:

Enjoy! More ALA conference program insights and comments to follow.

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