Monday, January 30, 2006

Free eMail to SMS service

TeleFlip makes sending e-mail to cellphones very easy. Most cellular services allow you to send e-mail to text-enabled cellphones by using its telephone number, but you need to know the domain name, which isn't always intuitive. For example, to email a Verizon user, you send to phonenumber @ Teleflip has now made it possible to send to most any text-enabled cell phone merely by using phonenumber @

There might be a useful library tool here. SMS notification of an ILL arrival, overdue book, reserved book availability, special events - maybe a lot of stuff!

Try it. It's free! (yourcellphonenumber)

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Life Expectancy of Books

From: Boing Boing

Most books - even popular ones - quickly fall into obscurity and out of print. Here is fascinating insight into the phenomena.

The literature taught in schools is that which has survived: a collection of gross statistical anomalies. This is misleading. Falling out of print is a book's natural fate. We can belatedly train ourselves to believe that this will happen to other people's books. What's hard is for writers to believe it will happen to their own.

It'll happen just the same. It happens faster in mainstream fiction than it does in Our Beloved Genre, more slowly for nonfiction history books, very fast indeed for computer manuals; but in the end, all but a very few titles will be forgotten. Just look at the authors in that collection of bestseller lists. You're a literate bunch, but have you ever heard of Harold Bell Wright? How about Mazo de la Roche? Mary Roberts Rinehart, Lloyd Douglas, Irving Bacheller, Frank Yerby, Coningsby Dawson, Warwick Deeping? These were all notable authors in their day. Some of their books were no better than they should be, while others were genuinely praiseworthy; but all of them spent some time perched on top of the commercial heap.

All gone, now. We shall none of us escape obscurity.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

ScienceDirect and Scopus Now Enabled for MetaLib

ScienceDirect and Scopus have announced that both systems are enabled for MetaLib®, the Ex Libris portal product. ScienceDirect and Scopus are Elsevier’s primary science, technology, medicine and social science research information services. The new feature is the result of the MetaLib KnowledgeBase update released by Ex Libris, which extends MetaLib’s MetaSearch™ functionality, allowing end users to search and retrieve results from ScienceDirect and Scopus.

New Pew Report: Strength of Internet Ties

The Strength of Internet Ties: The internet and email aid users in maintaining their social networks and provide pathways to help when people face big decisions. Link

Some other websites that link to TCL

More and more sights are referencing our content and even linking to TCL. Here are just a few:

The Handheld Librarian

Library Associates

Distant Librarian

Google Librarian

Central Medical Library (Netherlands)

Blog in Space

College of the Mainland Library

The Redhaired Librarian

TCL in Space!

Last July I signed The Centered Librarian up with "Blog in Space". To date, we have been "beamed up" 5 times. Aliens can now partake of our collective wisdom!
Some 60 years ago humans first began transmitting television signals powerful enough to reach beyond our earth's atmosphere. Since then the media has continued to broadcast messages from I Love Lucy to the five o'clock news into space, potentially reaching intelligent alien life forms beyond our solar system. Blogs In Space is the first entity to allow everyday bloggers to transmit the news and thoughts of an everyday person into space. Simply put we take your feed and transmit it out on a powerful deep space transmission dish. New Search Engine Aims For More Targeted Results

Stupid name, interesting idea. Here is an article from Yahoo News: entered onto the scene with a two-box search engine approach. Their idea is to combine traditional keywords with topics or categories. Before query results are served up to users, the search engine sorts its findings into related tag clusters to closely match the searcher's intent. When the search query is returned a list of tag clusters also appears.


Thumbthing,a brilliant new invention for
reading books – it makes
reading more comfortable.

Also use it as a bookmark.

Ideal for reading in bed, or in
the bath or on the beach.
Great for commuters.

Imagining the Google Future

Business 2.0 Magazine has an interesting article this month examining Google's many possible futures. Included in the speculation are Google is media. Google is the Internet. Google is dead. Google is God.
What kind of company will Google become in the coming decades? Will it succumb to hubris and flame out like so many of its predecessors? Or will it grow into an omnipresent, omnipotent force -- not just on Wall Street or the Web, but in society? We put the question to scientists, consultants, former Google employees, and tech visionaries like Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Wolfram. They responded with well-argued, richly detailed, and sometimes scary visions of a Google future. On the following pages, we've compiled four very different scenarios for the company. Each details an extreme, but plausible, outcome. In three of them, Google attains monopolistic power, lording over the media, the Internet, and scientific development itself. In the fourth, Google withers and dies. That may seem unthinkable now, but nobody is immune to arrogant missteps. Not even the smartest business minds of 2005.

Searching For a Better Image

Ask Jeeves has launched a brand-new image search service, using some innovative techniques to identify high-quality pictures on the web. How does it stack up against the competition?

Read more about it here

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Libraries as Cultural Icon?

Changing a Cultural Icon:
The Academic Library as a Virtual Destination by Jerry D. Campbell, Chief Information Officer and Dean of University Libraries at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

This makes a compelling case that the model for academic libraries has changed and the library as we know it has less and less relevancy to today's users.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

LivePlasma Movie, Music Discovery Engine, an online site for music and, more recently, movies, graphically "maps" shoppers' potential interests. A search for music by Coldplay, for example, brings up a graphical representation of what previous customers of Coldplay music have purchased, presented in clusters of circles of various sizes.

The bigger the circle, the greater the popularity of that band. The circles are clustered into orbits representing groups of customers with similar preferences.

"This is a way of showing recommendations that are vastly more useful than textual links," said Whit Andrews, a research vice president at Gartner Inc., a market research company in Stamford, Conn.

Apple has expanded its iTunes U program, which allows colleges and universities to post audio and video educational content online using a content management system based on iTunes.

Google Imagery Improves

From the GoogleBlog...

We're always trying to improve the imagery in Google Earth and Google Local, but our latest update is bigger than usual. Not only have we added extensive 6-inch imagery for many parts of the U.K., but we've updated the Google Local database to match the coverage we have in Google Earth, and (drum roll, please) ... we've added two more zoom levels in Google Local's Satellite mode! Now for many areas around the world you can see a lot more detail than you could before.

Take a look at people standing at the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, or jump over the pond and see the Statue of Liberty in New York, and then maybe drop down to the southern hemisphere and check out the boats sailing past the Sydney Opera House.

NCSU Debuts New Catalog

During ALA Midwinter there was quite a bit of chatter about North Carolina State University Libraries new catalog. High points, in my opinion, are relevance ranking, spelling help, and clean user friendly design. Here is an announcement from LJ Academic Newswire, 19-Jan-2006:

North Carolina State University Libraries (NCSU) has taken an important step in making catalogs more robust and user-friendly, deploying the Endeca ProFind™ platform to add capabilities patrons expect from web browsing. Patrons can now search results ranked by relevance, and refine navigation by topic, author, genre, language, material type, format, and availability. Sorting options include publication date, title, author, call number, and popularity. Also, the application displays a “breadcrumb” of the refinements selected to allow backtracking and broadening of search results. Users can also browse by subject without searching at all. Endeca’s technology is used in TLC’s CARL•X library system that has been installed in a few public libraries, but NCSU worked directly with the company, which mainly sells its software to retailers. “Endeca was very interested in talking to libraries,” Andrew Pace, NCSU’s head of systems, told the LJ Academic Newswire. “They knew a lot about searching. We knew a lot about metadata. We did it in six months.” He said the technology “costs less than an ILS, but what you’d expect to buy a high end web search technology.”

Pace known by many of his peers for his colorful denunciations of OPACs, said he began examining Endeca and similar products offered by AquaBrowser and RLG last year. “We don’t have any relevance in Sirsi,” he noted. The last thing cataloged is at the top of the list, which is not great when you add 5000 government documents in a batch load. We’re hoping to expose those titles that users wouldn’t be able to find.” While other libraries may be using Endeca technology, “the thing that’s really first for [our library] is the [Library of Congress] classification browsing. We took LC subject headings and broke them up into their four component parts.” Previously, he noted, the system had to be down for three days to reindex the library’s keyword index of 1.5 million bibliographic records. “Endeca does that in about four hours.” How will users respond to the system? “I almost hope it’s met with deafening silence from the users,” Pace said. “It’s about time it made more sense. Nobody calls up Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart and asks them how to do a search.”

More links:
NCSU Libraries Unveils Revolutionary, Endeca-Powered Online Catalog

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Library Gives Me a Headache

Dr. Betsy Barefoot, Co-Director for the Policy Center on the First Year of College, and Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina, has an article in the online Chronicle Review, titled "Bridging the Chasm: First Year Students and Library. It is password protect, but us this link and scroll down for the article.

The campus library may historically be the centerpiece of institutional life on college and university campuses, but many first-year students think it is largely irrelevant to their lives. The reasons include the students' characteristics, attitudes, and prior experiences; the nature of first-year college courses; the lack of instruction on information literacy; and, perhaps most important, the availability of information 24/7 from online sources. Why walk to the library when all the information you could ever need is available at your fingertips in the comfort of your residence-hall room? Or so goes first-year student logic.

Library offers e-Books to reverse declining circulation

Morton Grove Library in Illinois eying e-books as way to reverse declining adult-circulation.
“(Library Director) Schapiro said the e-books will give the library a way to respond to a decline in adult circulation. While the drop has not been drastic, it has been noticeable, he said.

“Over the last couple of months we’ve been noticing a steady decline in our adult circulation. It doesn’t mean there are fewer people coming in,” he said.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Google, Yahoo Still Favorites in North America

From Search Engine Watch - Survey: Google, Yahoo Still Favorites in North America, For the second year running, a Keynote Systems study says Google provides the most satisfying search...Link

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Take the Test: "Are you a Librarian?"

From "It's All Good"

Over on PUBLIB, there has been a discussion of a quiz called, "Are You a Librarian?" After more than three decades in the profession, I scored a 72%, good enough for their ranking of "Assistant Librarian." I quote from my results:

"You seem to be a librarian, but you are not as knowledgeable as your more devoted colleagues in some of the library lore, trivia, technical details and social knowledge that can give depth and perspective to ones professional identity; but your practical knowledge of your job may be quite excellent."

On the other hand, I outscored 99% of the other quiz takers of my age and gender.

One drawback is that you don't find out which questions you answered wrong. Otherwise, this is a fun way to waste fifteen minutes or so. Twenty, if you blog about it afterwards!

Score your book's title! Will it sell?!

Want to know if you've got a killer title for your novel? Now, for the first time in literary history, you can put your title to the scientific test and find out whether it has what it takes for bestseller success.

Title Scorer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bizarre attempt at internet censorship

Web Censorship for Dummies. Annalee Newitz, AlterNet. Posted January 3, 2006. Here's an interesting story about CP80, a lobbying group pushing the "Internet Channel Initiative," a "technology solution" designed to limit pornography. Their idea is to put all pornography on one "channel" (i.e., port) and so be able to limit access to that port. However, this television metaphor doesn't fly because ports are used to differentiate types of communication protocols (http, smtp, etc.), not kinds of content. But beyond the technological problems with their initiative, check out the corporate sponsors -- amazon, iTunes, Best Buy, Sony Musci Store, Hickory Farms(?!) etc. This is even more troubling because these companies have alot of power and pull and they obviously aren't even thinking about the free speech implications of this "initiative", only the bottom line. This is the epitome of corporate irresponsibility. I think these companies should be at the top of the "do not shop at" list!...

Firefox Garners 20% of Euro Market

The Mozilla Firefox browser has achieved a market share of more than 20 percent in Europe, according to the latest figures released by French Web metrics firm XiTi.

XiTi, which based its figures on a sample of 32.5 million Web site visits that took place on Jan. 8, said that Finland has the highest proportion of Firefox users, followed by Slovenia and Germany. It found that the open-source browser is used by 38, 36 and 30 percent of users in these countries, respectively.

From CNET News

Using building tops to advertise on Google Maps

Advertisers are slowly discovering the potential of Google Maps. Expect to see more of this in the future.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Learn who is linking to The Centered Librarian

I have added a button in the right panel that shows who has placed a link to us on their site. Yahoo indicates 93 links, though some are redundant. At least we have some audience!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

5 Trends in Consumer Generated Content in 2006

From iMedia Connection

Here are five trends in consumer generated content from the last year that will have a profound impact on our internet experience in 2006 and beyond:

1. Social networking comes of age
2. Wikipedia becomes the number one reference site
3. Flickr and tagging take off
4. Blogs, blogs, blogs
5. Video search goes viral

Friday, January 06, 2006

Google to offer video, software downloads

Google will reveal a new video and software download service on Friday, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Thursday, citing sources.

"We aren't commenting on any new planned services," a Google spokeswoman said. "All we're saying is that we have a number of exciting announcements that we will make on Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show."

As part of a major upgrade to Google's video-search service, consumers will be able to pay to download and view videos, such as TV shows, on their computer from Google content partners. Google plans to announce partnerships with major players, including CBS and the National Basketball Association, the report said.

Google will also announce Google Pack, a bundle of software from Google and others consumers will be able to download and install on their computers, according to the report. The bundle will include Firefox, a version of Norton AntiVirus, Adobe Acrobat Reader and RealPlayer.

Library Thing - Catalog your books on line

Library Thing is an on line cataloging service that currentlt hosts almost 1.5 million volumes. You can catalog up to 200 books free or as many as you want for $10/year. Really neat commentary and reviews by users. You can set up a virtual book shelf with covers.

  • Easy. Catalog your books online.

  • Social. Show everyone your library, or keep it private. Find people with the same books you own. Read reviews and get recommendations from readers like you.

  • Tagged. Tag your books as on and Flickr (eg., wwii, magical realism, sexuality, christian living, cats).

  • Powerful. Search Amazon, the Library of Congress and 30 other world libraries.

  • Safe. Export your data. Import from almost anywhere too.

  • Free. Enter 200 books for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life).

  • Bloggy. Put a widget on your blog to show people what you're reading.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect is a new program currently open to a select group of authors. This program allows authors to post messages directly to their readers on a wide variety of subjects. Currently, messages will appear on the detail page of an author’s book as well as on her/his profile page. As part of the program, authors may create a profile page with personalized information.

Google to release its own PC and OS

According to the LA Times:

Google will unveil its own low-price personal computer or other device that connects to the Internet.

Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft's Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap — perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars.