Wednesday, December 21, 2005

2005 Year End Google Zeitgeist

It turns out that looking at the aggregation of billions of search queries people type into Google reveals something about our curiosity, our thirst for news, and perhaps even our desires. Considering all that has occurred in 2005, we thought it would be interesting to study just a few of the significant events, and names that make this a memorable year. (We’ll leave it to the historians to determine which ones are lasting and which ephemeral.) We hope you enjoy this selective view of our collective year.

Monday, December 19, 2005

15 years of the World Wide Web

(CNN) -- Spark looks at the top 10 "Web moments" since the World Wide Web was born 15 years ago, and asks viewers to vote for the one they think had the most impact in the Web's history.

Google Launches Music Search

Google has introduced a new feature that provides information about music and musical artists in response to music related search queries. The new feature works directly from any Google web search form, and results are returned as "one box" results at the top of the search result page next to a musical notes icon. As with other types of "one box" results, which can be triggered when searching for news, products, images and so on, music results are displayed when Google determines that a query might be related to a band or artist name, a song name, album or song lyrics.

Read more about it here

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

RSS Toilet paper

A crazy new product out of Taiwan seems to be aimed at the feed dependent of us out there. The 'rsstroom reader' is a bathroom gadget that prints news feeds onto your T-P - that's right, your TOILET PAPER! The best part is the "biometrics" toilet seat that'll figure out who you are based on your weight and prints the news you want - not your roommates tabloid garbage. Going to the rsstroom will never be boring again!

1940s Photos from LOC

Very interesting collection of photos from the 1940s from the Library of Congress.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Google Transit Launched

Yet another iteration of Google Maps has launched and allows you to plan an itinerary using Google Maps. It even gives travel times.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Personal Media Barcode Solution

Media Collector makes organizing your media fast and easy with revolutionary AutoFill technology. One click provides you with detailed product information and artwork in an easy-to-use collection manager that makes it easy to browse, organize, and share your collections.

Media Collector utilizes barcode technology to its fullest potential to enable you to effortlessly organize, sort, search, browse, and share your media collections. Just like iTunes automatically enters information about your CDs, IntelliScanner barcode readers automatically locate the details you want with a simple scan.

Google Librarian is the ultimate guide to Google made especially for Librarians and information professionals. We understand that your quest for information is not limited to books, and extends to electronic media. Google Librarian was created to help you - the librarian - master the art of online searching and harness the infinite power of Google and its services. We provide you with tips, tricks, strategies, lesson plans, tutorials, and easy to understand explanations to make your Google experience the best. As an added bonus, we will also track Google development and keep you up-to-date with the latest Google innovations.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New OCLC report available

Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005) summarizes findings of an international study on information-seeking habits and preferences.

The Perceptions report provides the findings and responses from the online survey in an effort to learn more about:

Library use
Awareness and use of library electronic resources
The Internet search engine, the library and the librarian
Free vs. for-fee information
The "Library" brand

The report is available here.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Wikipedia in the news

Wikipedia has been getting alot of press lately. Several scandals have prompted Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to modify posting ground rules.

Here are links to some recent articles:

A false Wikipedia 'biography'
in USAToday

Adam Curry gets podbusted on cnet

Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar from the New York Time

Growing pains for Wikipedia on cnet

Friday, December 02, 2005

Contrasting Keynotes - Gorman again at odds with Tech Librarians

Jim Ashling
Ashling Consulting

Contrasting keynotes
There couldn’t have been a greater contrast between David Weinberger’s keynote address and one immediately following by ALA President, Michael Gorman. While Weinberger paced up and down the platform, gesturing and occasionally shouting in his enthusiasm for a new order (or rather, a lack of order), in another room, Gorman sat quietly at the desk, spoke calmly and deliberately, without a PowerPoint presentation, espousing his opinion that the function of the library remains the same as it always has: the preservation of human knowledge. In addition, to assist users find the information they want and, given the failure of the US education system, to look after the health of users’ literary skills.

Speaking purely personally and not on behalf of the ALA, Gorman said, “Digitisation, particularly Google Print is a mistake. It is a waste of money to digitise material that nobody uses.” Further, he does not like at all the idea that readers should be able dip into works that can only be fully understood when read completely and sequentially.

Gorman also criticised Google’s name change from Google Print to Google Book Search. He believes that library catalogs are perfectly adequate for book searches and Amazon is fine for book purchases.

The remainder of the panel, two librarians and a Google spokesman, didn’t share these views. Elisabeth Niggemann, die Deutsche Bibliothek is keen to grow the body of digital content whether by corporations or through government funding as exemplified by The European Library project. (More on the European Library will appear in the January Information Today International Column).

Glenda Myers from the University of Witwatersrand was generous, even overflowing, in her praise of Google, saying that in her remote and poorer part of the world, Google was opening access to literature that could never have been provided before.

Google’s John Lewis Needham pointed out three factors about Google that change everything to do with search that none of the earlier speakers had mentioned: the price (free), the speed (fast) and the age of the Google user and Google developer communities (20 to 30).

Looks to me that the score at the end of round one is: New Order 3, Tradition 1.

And from:
Dick Kaser
ITI V.P., Content

The emphasis on quick search and the retrieval of nuggets of information defies the thoughtful process of the scholarly tradition and libraries' role in preserving and providing access to the human record of recorded knowledge, he said.

With the emphasis on quick search, Gorman said, "We've gone from cataloging to this sort of reduction of full texts . . . and a new age of amateurism [blogs] . . . and a belief in the great myth that everything is available on the Internet and everyone can find what they want."

This, he said, creates a "perilous" environment for libraries, and even challenges the basis of our civilization by reverting to a pre-Gutenberg situation in which "everything is written on water, it just flows away."

What about Google's digitization of library collections?

"It's a huge misallocation of resources," he said. "There are lots of ways to find books, and digitizing whole texts is a waste of time. The chances of a snippet from a book showing up on the first screen of search results [as far as most users go] is fairly low. It would be better if Google would help solve the scholarly communication issue or fund the digitization of archives."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blackberry again in jeopardy

RICHMOND, Va. Nov 30, 2005 — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a $450 million settlement between a small patent holding firm and the maker of BlackBerry e-mail devices, Research in Motion Ltd., is not valid.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer is a victory for NTP Inc., an Arlington company that has argued the technology behind the popular BlackBerry infringes on its patents.

Canada's RIM had sought to uphold an agreement reached earlier this year, though NTP said it was never finalized.
Top Stories

Spencer could next consider reissuing an injunction that threatens to shut down U.S. BlackBerry service. However, analysts and industry observers expect RIM will be backed in a corner and forced to settle for a sum as high as $1 billion.

The Nasdaq market had halted trading of BlackBerry's shares about 10:45 a.m. pending an important announcement.

Service offers free Internet Television

Veoh is an Internet Television Network that is able to reach anyone with a broadband Internet connection and a PC or a Mac. All you need to watch is download and install the Veoh software (~ 5MB, installs in under one minute).

Veoh allows anyone to create and broadcast their own TV show or a Channel full of shows. Not small streaming videos, but FULL-Screen, TV-Quality video. Veoh does not transcode the content, but rather offers it in it’s native encoding, and does not limit the file sizes/length of video. Veoh’s goal is to become the platform for producers of all sizes (from individuals to studios and everyone in between) to have a democratized TV broadcasting system.

Veoh is unregulated so it is a true FREE SPEECH television network, politically unbiased and unaffiliated.

Show publishers can publish an unlimited number of shows , with unlimited length, and reach an unlimited number of people, without paying a cent in storage or bandwidth charges . Veoh utilizes a homegrown P2P network (similar to Bit Torrent, but built with content security features and better at penetrating firewalls) to dissipate the costs of delivering these large files. Veoh will make money through advertising and sale of premium content.

Veoh provides a social network around the content, making it easy for the audience to interact with the publishers and with each other. You can link directly to your Veoh show from MySpace , any other social network, or from your own website or blog. You can also forward shows to your friends , and get shows forwarded to you.

Veoh has over 10,000 shows available for immediate consumption. If you’re worried about being exposed to Adult content, Veoh has a built-in family filter that is on by default. You can choose what rating not to go above.

Veoh integrates with the Video iPod allowing users to watch their Veoh videos on the iPod. In fact, Veoh has over 3,000 free videos for the iPod (enough to fill one up completely), and more videos being added hourly. Other portable video devices will be supported shortly.

Firefox 1.5 available for download

Firefox 1.5 came out earlier today. I've been using it for an hour now, and boy is it nice. If you're still using Microsoft's Explorer or Safari, now's a great time to switch -- better ad-blocking, better usability, better security, and better standards-compliance. And it's free! Link

Monday, November 28, 2005

Samsung unveils largest flexible LCD

Samsung Electronics has created a flexible LCD screen that measures 7 inches diagonally, another technology that may one day be used in products such as e-books.

The display is functionally similar to the LCD (liquid crystal display) panels used inside TVs and notebooks, but with a crucial difference. Instead of containing glass substrates, the screen features a substrate of flexible plastic, allowing the display to bend. The plastic will not break when flexed, according to Samsung, and its pliancy paves the way for flexible color screens.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

iT is a compact, ultra-simple, portable desk top computer complete with everything necessary to connect to the Internet, home entertainment devices, printer, USB card reader for reading the memory cards of digital cameras and many other USB peripherals.

It has been developed, designed and manufactured to be distributed free in order to enhance the lives of the millions of people in the world who - for economic reasons - are not connected to the Internet. A way to move them out of the digital underclass.

Why free, you may ask? There are 14 "hotkeys" on the keyboard, and every time you press one, you'll be directed to a different sponsor's website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

EDUCAUSE study on students and IT

The EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) has made available its 2005 study on students and information technology. Here's the link to the PDF.

The title is: ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology: Convenience, Connection, Control and Learning.

Library of Congress plans world digital library

Library of Congress plans world digital library: "The Library of Congress is kicking off a campaign on Tuesday to work with other nation's libraries to build a World Digital Library, starting with a $3 million donation from Google Inc."

Monday, November 21, 2005

RSS to SMS just went in to beta with their online service that allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds and receive pings to the Instant Messanger of your choice.

While most content might not be important enough to warrant subscribing to an RSS-to-SMS tool, getting to IM just might be more relevant, especially when you don't have the time to regularly check your RSS reader, but want to be notified when something of top importance happens. works with all major IM carriers including MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Jabber, and AIM/ICQ.

Use to be notified instantly when:

* news on a certain topic is posted
* your competitor does something of interest
* something interesting happens with a favorite sports team
* your name or company is written about
* you receive new email

Thomson Gale adds Podcasts

Thomson has announced the addition of podcasts to various Gale InfoTrac databases.

To enable them to jump on the podcasting trend, Thomson is using the more liberal interpretation of the concept of "podcast" - meaning any online audio, as opposed to the stricter initial conception of the term, which is defined as a technology that allows users to subscribe to a set of feeds to listen to regularly updated syndicated audio Web content (pcwebopedia).

Podcast feeds are being added to the General Reference Center, Student Resource Center, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, History Resource Center, and more. Weekly presidential radio addresses by George W. Bush from January 2005 to the present will be podcast beginning November 8, 2005. New presidential radio addresses will be added weekly.

While this addition marks the first podcast ever loaded to Thomson Gale reference databases, the company says it will add more podcasts in the coming months.

TiVo to offer TV recordings transfer to iPod and PSP

TiVo today announced an enhancement to its current TiVoToGo feature that will allow TiVo subscribers to easily transfer recorded television programming to their iPod or PSP devices. The enhancement will include exclusive capabilities such as TiVo auto-sync that will allow subscribers to choose if they want new recordings of their favorite programs easily transferred to their portable devices via their PC. Every morning the devices can be loaded with new programs recorded the night before. TiVo said it plans to make the feature available to its entire standalone TiVo Series2 subscriber base as early as the first quarter of next year. Subscribers will need to purchase certain low-cost software to facilitate the transfer of content from the PC to these portable devices.

Map of Public Libraries affected by Hurricanes

This map presents information on the libraries that were substantially damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Libraries with minor damage are not included. The Map

Friday, November 18, 2005

It's Good To Be An RFID Vendor

As this article from Internet News indicates, it’s good to be in the RFID business these days. Beginning on New Year’s Day, Wal-Mart is requiring that their suppliers must tag their goods before they hit their stores. And of course, those suppliers will be seeking out vendors to help them tag these goods. In addition, the Department of Defense is requiring the tagging of all supplies (except liquids) bound for Iraq. Again, vendors have a major business opportunity here. Simply put, RFID technology has been gathering steam and should be a major technology to follow in 2006.

Google Blog tracks Google development and more


also check out Google Weblog

Thursday, November 17, 2005

First album to be released in flash memory format only

As flash memory falls in price and as we all become more accustomed to buying music in digital format, Barenaked Ladies is releasing BARENAKED ON A STICK! ... a USB flash memory drive containing songs, videos, and exclusive content from the Barenaked Ladies, and will go on sale November 22, 2005! Essential for any BNL fan's collection, the 128mg USB flash memory drive (about the size of your pinky finger) is a fast and easy way to share music, videos, pictures and other data. It is PC/Mac compatible, re-usable and incredibly low priced at $29.98 (close to the same cost of the device on its own with no special content). It will be available on and (Nettwerk's online merchandise store), and will also be sold at all BNL shows this winter.

Can audiobooks and other digital content be far behind?

Sherlock Holmes serialized as originally published in The Strand

Stanford is republishing several of the Sherlock Holmes stories in serial installments as they originally appeared printed and illustrated in "The Strand" magazine. You can subscribe to get them either as paper copies or electronically, and either way is completely free. It starts in January, but you signups are open now. Here is the site.

Monday, November 14, 2005

AOL unveils free Web TV

Time Warner Inc.'s AOL said on Monday it planned to launch a free Internet television service by early 2006, in one of the technology and media industry's most ambitious designs to reach TV viewers online.

Yahoo and Google threaten to bypass traditional media outlets by linking computer users with TV shows online, striking partnerships with programmers or creating content. What they lack AOL now possess in abundance -- the shows themselves.

In its first year, in an exclusive deal, the advertising-supported service, In2TV, will feature approximately 3,400 hours of programming from 4,800 episodes spanning 100 series of Warner Bros.-produced shows from the past.

They include past prime time hits "Welcome Back Kotter," "Growing Pains" and "Kung Fu" organized under six channels divided by comedy, drama, animation, action, classic and superhero/villain genres. Two more channels may launch in 2006.

Over time, Warner Bros. could add up to 14,000 episodes from 300 series it has cleared with rights holders, executives said. AOL is also in talks with "every major provider" to offer shows not owned by Time Warner, Kevin Conroy, executive vice president of AOL media networks said in an interview.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Study: teenagers favor IM to e-mail

Instant messaging is emerging as a favorite communication tool among teenagers and young adults, with a good number of them sending more IMs than e-mails, a new survey says.

Nearly 66 percent of 13- to 21-year-olds say they send more IMs than e-mails, compared with 49 percent last year, according to an America Online-commissioned study of instant messaging trends.

Overall, 38 percent of users say they send as many or more IMs than e-mails.

IM is getting popular at work as well, with 58 percent of people using it to communicate with colleagues; 49 percent for getting answers and making business decisions. And some are also using it to deal with clients or "to avoid a difficult in-person conversation." A majority of users at work, 77 percent, feel instant messaging has had a positive effect on their work lives. About 13 percent say they have their IM screen name printed on their business card.

Full Article

Load Content into iPod without a Computer

From Gizmodo:
Aren't we all past the point where we need to rip our CDs? The whole "Rip, Mix, Burn" era peaked in 2002 and anyone with CDs at this point should probably just keep listening to the Technics 100-disk changer and give it up. Anyway, the iLoad is a little thingie that rips CDs to your iPod. I'm thinking this is a proof-of-concept patent thing for future lawsuits—"PATENT 1,100,033,032,095 - A device that removes data from compact disks and transfers it to a portable music player"— but we'll see what comes of it. No specs or info yet, just a "Spam me" link.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

From:"It's All Good"

Amazon Shorts are short literary works available for purchase--49 cents!--from well-known authors that have never been published anywhere else--and won't be for at least 6 months according to the FAQ. Amazon made a foray into original content a year or so ago when they showed made-for-Amazon short films over a period of weeks. With Amazon Shorts, the line between content seller and publisher just got a lot fuzzier.

In the FAQ:
What types of material can I list as an Amazon Short?
Any previously unpublished short-form work (2,000 - 10,000 words, fiction or nonfiction) you've created that your readers would find interesting. An Amazon Short could be a single short story, an update on a well-loved character, a compelling speech, additional material that enriches your published works, or even your commentary on your work or other subjects. Some authors have chosen to treat this as a "laboratory" for experimentation with new genres, themes, etc. We are open to creative ideas for new work.

This will drive collection development librarians nuts...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

CBS, NBC To Launch 99-Cent On-Demand TV

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A pair of separate deals announced Monday between CBS and Comcast, as well as NBC Universal and DirecTV, soon will allow viewers to pay to watch current primetime broadcast hits just hours after they air for free.

CBS and NBC will be charging 99 cents per episode to access such series as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and the "Law & Order" spinoffs putting a twist on the traditional TV business model that will have untold implications for industry sectors ranging from affiliates to advertisers for years to come.

While unprecedented in the multichannel world, the new window became a hot commodity once Apple Computer Inc. and Walt Disney Co. made series programming like "Lost" available on video iPods last month. Having missed the first wave in the sea change transforming how viewers watch TV, Monday's deals are probably just the first of many that will put programming on as many different screens as possible, including mobile phones.

"As with the Disney iPod deal, I think this deal is symbolic of the new age," said Leslie Moonves, co-president and chief operating officer of Viacom Inc. and chairman of CBS.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Author John Fowles dead

BRITISH novelist John Fowles, author of The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Magus, has died aged 79, his publisher said overnight.

"He died at the weekend. He had been ill for some time," said a spokeswoman at his publishers, Jonathan Cape.

Fowles, a novelist for more than 40 years, won international acclaim with publication in 1969 of The French Lieutenant's Woman, a vivid Victorian pastiche that was later turned into a critically acclaimed film with Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons.

Fowles worked as a teacher before turning to writing full-time.

His first novel in 1963 was The Collector about a young butterfly collector who kidnaps a young woman.

Among his other successful books was the 1960s cult novel The Magus, a complex and disturbing tale set on a Greek island.

Penguin Books begin PodCasting

Welcome to the first ever Penguin podcast, with extracts, news and information from the best authors and books around.

In this issue we'll bring you Jamie Oliver chewing over the history of English cuisine, the authors of Freakonomics on how to choose (or how not to choose!) your baby's name, an extract of Zadie Smith's new bestseller On Beauty and music from Penguin Remixed.

Yahoo, TiVo to connect services

Starting today, consumers will be able to schedule recordings of TV shows on their TiVo box from a special Yahoo portal, the companies have announced. Subscribers would need a valid Yahoo account with a e-mail address as well as a valid TiVo user account.

Additional content sharing between Yahoo and TiVo, such as traffic, weather and user photos, is almost assured before the year is out, according to Associated Press reports.

Microsoft and Amazon join book digitization movement

Microsoft To Digitize 100,000 Books: "Software giant Microsoft Corp. said Friday it has signed a deal to scan and put online 100,000 books from the British Library."

Amazon to sell chapters of books: "Online retailer has unveiled 'two innovative programmes' to allow readers to access parts of books rather than buying the complete work."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Writeboard is an on-line tool that lets you create web-based text documents, save every edit, roll back to any version and easily compare changes. You can use Writeboard alone or collaboratively. The cool part is that it creates an RSS feed for each document and then delivers document changes to your RSS Reader, thus giving you great control over document versioning.

Monday, October 31, 2005

E Ink debuts 10" flexible e-Paper

Tokyo, Japan - October 19, 2005 - E Ink Corporation in USA, the leading supplier of electronic paper display technology, today announced that LG.Philips LCD (NYSE: LPL, KRX: 034220), one of the world's leading innovators of thin-film transistor liquid crystal (TFT-LCD) technology, and E Ink have built a 10.1" flexible electronic paper display. The display will be shown at the FPD International trade show in Japan, attended by over 60,000 visitors each year.

Less than 300 microns thick, the paper-white display is as thin and flexible as construction paper. With a 10.1" diagonal, the prototype achieves SVGA (600x800) resolution at 100 pixels per inch and has a 10:1 contrast ratio with 4 levels of grayscale.

E Ink® Imaging Film is a novel display material that looks like printed ink on paper and has been designed for use in paper-like electronic displays. Like paper, the material can be flexed and rolled. As an additional benefit, the E Ink Imaging Film uses 100 times less energy than a liquid crystal display because it can hold an image without power and without a backlight.

LG.Philips LCD and E Ink selected a steel foil material that could be supplied by Sumitomo Corporation in high volume and which was developed by Nippon Steel Corporation (5401.JP), the leading steel company in Japan. The flexible foil is a super-thin, extremely flat, high-performance steel that can easily withstand the high temperatures of a TFT production process.

LG.Philips LCD combined both materials to manufacture the display panel at an existing pilot TFT line in Korea. LG.Philips and E Ink jointly designed the display electronics and produced the final prototype to achieve the world's largest high-resolution flexible electronic paper display.

”We all need flexible displays,“ said Russ Wilcox, CEO of E Ink, ”They are 80% thinner and lighter than glass displays, and they do not break like glass displays. You can roll them up and put them in your pocket. You can curve them around the outside of a cellphone. Or you can throw them in your briefcase like a newspaper. As Galileo famously told us, the world is not flat.“

Making Visible the Invisible at Seattle Public Library

The circulation of checked out books and media transforms the library into a data exchange center. This flow of information can be calculated mathematically, analyzed statistically and represented visually. From a cultural perspective, the result may be a good indicator of what the community of patrons considers interesting information at any specific time. Visualizing the statistical information of the titles and their categories therefore provides a real-time living picture of what the community is thinking.

“Making Visible the Invisible” is an installation consisting of 6 large LCD screens located on a glass wall horizontally behind the librarians’ main information desk in the Mixing Chamber of the Seattle Central Library, a large open 19,500 sq ft space dedicated to information retrieval and public accessible computer research.

The screens feature real-time calculated animation visualizations generated by custom designed statistical and algorithmic software using data received each hour. This data consists of a list of checked-out items organized in chronological order. The item may be a book, a DVD, a CD, a VHS tape, etc. and from the list we can collect and aggregate titles, checkout time, catalog descriptors such as keywords, Dewey classification code if they are non-fiction items. There are approximately 36000 items circulating per day. Items with Dewey Decimal System labels provide for a way to get a perspective on what subject matters are of current interest at any given time as the Dewey system classifies all items according to 10 major categories: 000 Generalities; 100 Philosophy & Psychology; 200 Religion; 300 Social Science; 400 Language; 500 Natural Science & Mathematics; 600 Technology & Applied Sciences; 700 Arts; 800 Literature; 900 Geography & History. These are then subdivided into 100 segments. There are 4 visualizations at this time.

Google throws bodies at OpenOffice

With rival Microsoft in mind, Google plans to hire programmers to improve, a demonstration of its affinity for open source initiatives and one the company believes also shows sound practical sense.

OpenOffice has its roots in Sun Microsystems' StarOffice suite of programs. Five years ago, Sun turned its proprietary software into an open-source project. Only recently, however, has the competitor to Microsoft's Office attracted serious attention.

Now Google believes it can help OpenOffice--perhaps working to pare down the software's memory requirements or its mammoth 80MB download size, said Chris DiBona, manager for open-source programs at the search company.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sprint to roll out national WiMax network

Sprint intends to deploy a national, non-fixed WiMax network with as much, if not more coverage than the existing CDMA network. WiMax will effectively act as a replacement to CDMA data, providing FIOS-like speeds via massive towers that resemble TV towers in major cities.

This will enable Sprint to not only be a national ISP, but to remove common conceptions of fixed ISP. The WIMax modem technology Sprint is attempting to deploy will ensure that a broad range of WiMax devices will share an account... for example, WiMax deployments could fit in a PDA that would share bandwidth allocations with home internet that would share bandwidth allocations with your HDTV.

Sprint intends to compete directly with Cable, Satellite, ISPs, and traditional Wireless. By bundling all telecommunication services ever envisioned, Sprint will tackle everyone by offering everything.

Spray-on Computers

Spray on nano-computers could be the wave of the future. Scientists at several universities in Scotland are starting research on “Specks”, tiny nano-computers the size of a grain of sand. When put together, these “Specks” can combine to form programmable wireless networks that can communicate with each other, and with outside networks.

The coolest part, though, could be the potential to use an ordinary spray can to spread the “Specks” onto a surface. Although these nano-computers may not have a great deal of promise for the average consumer, imagine the promise this could have for businesses such as healthcare, automotive and construction just to name a few. For example, they could be used as lighting and temperature sensors in buildings, placed in aircraft wings to detect failures or used to sensitise medicine bottles to ensure that people take their prescribed medication at the correct times.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Publishers to build own online book network

It was only matter of time, really...

German publishers, keen to defend their copyrights as Internet search engines seek to put the world's literature online, aim to set up their own Web-based database allowing readers to browse, borrow or buy books.

Reuters article available here.

Study Guides Come to iPod

iPreppress on Wednesday announced a collaboration with SparkNotes to bring 11 study guides of classic American and British literature to the iPod. They’re priced at US$4.95 each.

Aimed at high school and college students, study guides include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, the Great Gatsby, Hamlet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, The Odyssey, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, the Scarlet Letter and A Tale of Two Cities.

The study guides feature the same content as SparkNotes study guides, including context, plot overview, summary and analysis, and more. What’s more, the study guides include quizzes and audio hyperlinks.

The content works with video-capable iPod, iPod nano, iPod photo and third-generation iPod and higher and iPod mini models.

DVDs vanish off library shelves

Thieves in Gwinnett County have lifted enough DVDs from public library shelves to fill more than two video stores and wipe out nearly half the system's collection.

The thefts got so bad — nearly 17,000 discs in all — the library board quietly shut down the 5-year-old program last month and began selling off the remaining inventory.

McCloy and others want the program back. But the library board isn't likely to relent.

"The economics don't add up right now," English said.

The lost discs have already cost the taxpayer-funded library system about $250,000, administrators estimated. They say better DVD security would cost at least $150,000 a year, money the system can't afford for a collection that accounts for less than 4 percent of all checkouts.

Gwinnett's collection included only children's titles, such as those featuring Barney and Wiggles, and educational selections from producers like National Geographic. The only feature-length movies were "Cinderella" and similar titles.

Librarians first started noticing DVDs were missing a couple of years ago. Parents arrived home from the library with DVD cases that turned out to be empty. Or DVDs would be missing from shelves, even though the library's computer system showed they had not been checked out.

Library workers didn't catch on to the scope of the problem until early 2004. A routine inventory showed the DVDs were missing at a higher rate than books, CDs, magazines and other materials.

Suspicious, administrators called the system's 12 branches and asked librarians to look inside the cases to see if they still contained discs. Many were empty.

In all, thieves made off with 44 percent of the system's roughly 39,000 DVDs. Theft rates for other types of materials, such as books, are less than 2 percent, marketing director Cindy Murphy said.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Google Database Service

55908013 C00F7A76B9Word is ripping around the web that Google is testing a new subdomain called A screen shot - the site has been up and down - shows a Google database of sorts where you can "Post your items on Google." It's a tagged database of stuff that heads directly into the world of Paul Ford's classic "Google Takes All" essay.

Apparently this will be debuted at Google's invite only Zeitgeist conference today. Philipp has more.

Interesting "Browse" of Amazon Books!

An experimental image-browsing interface by jim bumgardner, of displays book covers from Move your mouse over the covers to see more information, click to view the amazon page. The graphic novels are arranged horizontally by price, and vertically by color. Cool!

"Shaft" lyrics in Chaucerian English

Monday, October 24, 2005

Study: iPod users are prolific influencers

And we’re better looking, too.

Market research firm Intelliseek reports that iPod users are among the most likely on the Internet to create and spread consumer-generated media. The company also thinks this will increase with the proliferation of Apple’s new video-enabled iPod hardware.

iPod users are twice as likely to have authored a weblog than consumers who don’t have MP3 players, according to Intelliseek’s 2005 Consumer-Generated Media and Behavior Study.

Intelliseek also reports that iPod users are 2.5 times as likely to exchange text messages on cell phones, three times as likely to take photos with a camera phone, and three times as likely to download video clips and movies to their computer. They’re more likely to own Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), PDAs, digital cameras, laptops and cell phones, too.

The study looked at the habits of 660 online consumers and was conducted in August, 2005. The full study — which focuses on all consumer generated media, not just that which is iPod-related — will be released in November.

Stanford and Apple Present "Stanford on iTunes"

Stanford University is making hundreds of Stanford podcasts available free to anyone through iTunes Music Store. The podcasts include lectures by the university's professors, music from its students, and play-by-play descriptions of its football games.

Check it out!
Stanford on iTunes

Friday, October 21, 2005

ALA 2006 to be in New Orleans

The following statement has been issued by American Library Association (ALA) President Michael Gorman:
"We realize that many sections of the city, and particularly the Ninth Ward, have suffered tragic damage, and that many New Orleans residents have lost their homes forever. If we truly care about the residents of New Orleans, however, the best thing that the association and its members can do is to go to New Orleans and lead the reconstruction by example. Our conference will help to provide the jobs and tax revenues needed if residents are to reestablish their lives and for the city to fully restore services, including library services. We speak often of how libraries build communities, and we now have chance to show the country and world that librarians build communities, too.

I hope that you will join me in New Orleans. I am certain that we will have an extraordinarily productive and enjoyable conference, as we enjoy the welcome and celebrate the rebirth of a city we all love."

World Usability Day

November 3, 2005 is World Usability Day (WUD), an event that will spread the word about making products and services easier to use:

Part of WUD will be the Accessibility Channel -- an exciting, 24-hour global conversation about accessibility and usability:

From World Usability Day (WUD) website:

* On November 3,2005, people in more than 80 locations, and 30 countries around the world will celebrate World Usability Day. The theme is "Making It Easy!"

* Every citizen and customer has a right to expect products and services that are easy to use. World Usability Day events will highlight how this can be achieved.

* From cell phones, to call centers, to customer service websites and more, there are countless opportunities to "Make It Easier to Use."

* World Usability Day events are designed increase awareness of every citizen's and customer's right to expect things that work right. Events will also emphasize the responsibility to drive the development of usability improvements.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cellphones learn to recognize their owners' faces

Oki Electric Industry Co. Ltd. this week began marketing a technology that inexpensively adds face recognition to camera-equipped cellphones. Oki's "Face Sensing Engine" (FSE) "middleware" decodes facial images within 280mS on a 100MHz ARM9 processor, and can restrict access to mobile devices by recognizing their owners, the company says.

Oki says its FSE technology can help protect sensitive personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses from unwanted access, in the event of loss or theft of a mobile device. The use of face recognition, based on the mobile device's built-in digital camera, eliminates the need for users to enter passwords to use their devices, and provides a faster and more natural method of authentication. Oki points out.

FSE can acquire facial images from within a larger image. It works by locating and mapping key facial features -- such as eyes, eyebrows, and mouth -- and adapts to changing facial conditions such as winking and smiling, according to Oki.

Oki lists the following key features of its FSE technology:

  • Compact system footprint -- requires approximately 260KB on an ARM9 processor

  • Fast image processing -- requires approximately 280mS on a 100MHz ARM9 processor

  • Face recognition algorithm automatically adjusts to ambient lighting conditions

  • Supported processor architectures -- ARM9, SH Mobile, and others

  • Supported software platforms -- Symbian, uITRON, Linux, BREW, WIPI, Windows, Solaris, and others

Humorous slipcovers for books

Flapart sells funny book-covers to wrap around your reading material to impress strangers on the subway. Covers include "Coroner by Correspondence" and "Fast Track to Prison - Exploring the Many Benefits of Life Behind Bars." LINK

Google sued by Association of American Publishers

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Google over its plans to digitally copy and distribute copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owners. The lawsuit was filed only after lengthy discussions broke down between AAP and Google’s top management regarding the copyright infringement implications of the Google Print Library Project.

The suit, which seeks a declaration by the court that Google commits infringement when it scans entire books covered by copyright and a court order preventing it from doing so without permission of the copyright owner, was filed on behalf of five major publisher members of AAP: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Latest ePaper entry

Latest to show their own ultrathin display solution is Siemens, who claims their new color screens are quite actually paper thin, and that they actually cost relatively little to manufacture—$52 US per square meter. That’s still a bit much for newspaper use, of course, so it looks like they want us to hold out until 2007 on this one, when they suppose it’ll be a little more affordable in mass market pricing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Google's Librarian Center

Librarians and Google share a mission: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. We support librarians like yourself who work each day to further that mission. This page is a first step toward improving and expanding that support.

Check it out:

Average age of newspaper readers: 55

Newspaper readership is down. Fewer young people are picking them up, and the average age of a newspaper reader is now 55, according to a Carnegie Corporation study. Many papers have been losing circulation at alarming rates across all age groups.

Link to article.

OCLC's Presentation/Publication Bank

A handy collection of conference presentations and publications on library/information science subjects.

Japanese restaurants introduce RFID Payment System

Beef Bowl Chain Nakau introduced an RFID-based Payment System (JCB's QuickPay) on October 5. Customers can just show their RFID-chipped wallet phones to a paymenet machine to quickly pay for their meals. They are likely the first Beef Bowl Restaurant Chain to introduce RFID payment.

Beef bowls are one of the most popular fast food in Japan and they cost around $5.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Beloit College Student Mindset Lists

In the coming weeks, millions of students will be entering college for the first time. On average, these members of the Class of 2009 will be 18 years old, which means they were born in 1987. Starbucks, souped-up car stereos, telephone voicemail systems, and Bill Gates have always been a part of their lives.

Each August, as students start to arrive, Beloit College releases the Beloit College Mindset List, which offers a world view of today's entering college students. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Director of Public Affairs Ron Nief.

For the class of 2008:

1. Andy Warhol, Liberace, Jackie Gleason, and Lee Marvin have always been dead.
2. They don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors.
3. Heart-lung transplants have always been possible.
4. Wayne Gretzky never played for Edmonton.
5. Boston has been working on the "The Big Dig" all their lives.

75 more...and links to seven other class "Mindsets"

Stealth Surfer USB Flash Drive

This is a product that caters to the extremely paranoid, but nevertheless it is a pretty good idea. StealthSurfer is a Windows PC compatible key-sized USB device that is preloaded with Firefox, Anonymizer, RoboForm, and Thunderbird software configured and integrated for optimum privacy. When using StealthSurfer, all your sensitive Internet files such as cookies, history, and cache are stored on the StealthSurfer device instead of your computer.
A Comprehensive Privacy Solution – ALL integrated under one hood! Preloaded with:

  • Firefox - high-speed browser with enhanced security

  • Anonymizer - anonymous surfing complete network security and IP masking
  • RoboForm - one-click form-fill with secure user ID/password management application

  • Thunderbird - portable e-mail accessHushmail - high security web based e-mail solution

Monday, October 10, 2005

Digital Divisions

There are clear differences among those with broadband connections, dial-up connections, and no connections at all to the internet

Sixty-eight percent of American adults, or about 137 million people, use the internet, up from 63% one year ago. Thirty-two percent of American adults, or about 65 million people, do not go online, and it is not always by choice. Those who are currently offline have had varying levels of exposure to the online world. One in five American adults say they have never used the internet or email and do not live in an internet-connected household. At the other end of the spectrum, 53% of home internet users have high-speed access, creating a new divide among internet users.

Pew Report Link

The Lulu Blooker Prize is the world's first literary prize devoted to "blooks": books based on blogs or websites. Awarded in three categories:Fiction, Non-Fiction and Comics.

Blooks are the world's fastest-growing new kind of book and an exciting new stage in the life cycle of content, if not a whole new category of content. Learn more

The Lulu Blooker Prize is sponsored by Lulu, the world's fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books, including an increasing number of blooks. However, the judges of the short-listed books are independent of Lulu and no favor will be shown to books published on Lulu.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Google formally declares war on Microsoft

GOOGLE HAS confirmed that it will launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software online and take on Microsoft in one of its biggest markets.

Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar.

The other day, when Sun's Scott McNealy and his former employee now Google chief Eric Schmidt met up, Sun was wary about doing that.

When asked point blank, McNealy said it was something to be investigated. However Sun's Australian spokesman Paul O'Connor was a little more forthright about the deal which he said was "huge".

He bubbled that the deal was a wake-up call for Microsoft.

"At the moment most people are used to having to pay for software packages, but at the end of the day, the value is in the content and services – not in the software itself," he said.

More at the Brisbane Courier Mail, here.

Retired Librarian Wins $1.6 million on slot machine

Jacquelyn Sherman had not had much luck since Hurricane Katrina sent her fleeing from her New Orleans home.

That changed on Tuesday, when the money flooded in.

The 57-year-old retired librarian won $1.6 million playing the slot machine at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Louisiana.

Said Ms. Sherman, "You just don't realize what done happened until the person next to you hits you and says, Well, you done did it."

LINK to article.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

America's Fall in R&D: "Nobody Cares"

From "Business Week" via Greg Lee:

There's a major university in the [San Francisco] Bay Area that you would have thought was one of the best-funded universities in the world. And one of our fellows at National is a professor there. And he said they just got a new gift of a network analyzer from Agilent. It's worth about $110,000 and they put it on a metal cart, and professors will hide it away and hoard it. And to use it, you have to sign up for it days in advance, and they roll it around from lab to lab.

And then he was invited over to China to give a speech and was given a tour of Tsinghua University. And he was shocked and amazed that every lab had one of those very same Agilent network analyzers. Some of them had never been used or turned on, but they had them just in case they ever needed one. The funding is incredible, and meanwhile we're sitting here thinking we're doing fine.

LINK to article.

B&N, thanks in no small part to the seductive smell of coffee, has become the new public library.

Put it this way: When was the last time you couldn't find a seat at your local branch? When was the last time you went to the library on a Saturday night? For fun. Just to browse. Please, if you're that guy, don't write. It's OK. I'm sure there's someone out there for you.

In fact, public libraries are struggling in the Internet age when millions have easy access to information without leaving home or office. Having noticed the marketing success of Starbucks, some universities, and even a few high-school libraries, are now offering coffee. Vendors can be found in libraries at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Richmond, the University of Tennessee, the University of Pittsburgh and Auburn University, to name a few.

Students reportedly are clamoring for the library. Who'da thunk? Brew it and they will come.

LINK to article.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


In very very very beta, RSSor is a clone (seriously, look at it!) for feeds. The concept is interesting. Tag a feed and a unique page is created for the content for the feed (ie, the the "page" for Library Stuff content) You can then add blog posts to or Furl (I love that!), comment on each post post (which didn't seem to be working this morning [lots of other 404's on the site as well]).

One of the slickest aspects of RSSor is that the main site or your feed tags is an aggregator. Very neat and useful. I wonder how often the feeds update.

Again, this tool is in very early beta and needs to work out a bunch of kinks, but there are a few interesting pieces to it. Another similar to look at is Feed Maerker which has been in development for about a year. (link via Oishii)

Read more about it here

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Read on your iPod

iPodulator is a new web service that lets you convert a web page or RSS feed into the proper text format that can be transfered viewed on your iPod. The service works with 3G and 4G iPods and iPod minis.

“Enter a URL above (starting with http://) and hit ‘iPodinate.’ Some sites may not work, like It will take a moment to process. The URL can be a web page or an RSS feed. This will give you a plain text formatted version of the site you enter, perfect for reading on your iPod. Note: the page will look badly formatted on your computer. Don’t worry, it will look great on your iPod. To save it to your iPod: After hitting ‘iPodinate,’ use the ‘Save As’ command in your web browser to save this file to the ‘Notes’ folder of your iPod or save it to someplace on your computer for later copying to the ‘Notes’ folder. That’s it!”

Monday, September 26, 2005

Slawesome lets you send emails with your voice

Slawesome is voice for your email. It basically allows you to send voice mail (whether that’s love mail, hate mail, music mail or street noise - I don’t know what I’m talking about - mail) to any email address in the world. You have some vocal love that needs to be shared? Slawesome’s the tool for the job.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Top Three States in Library Circulation

Microsoft's nightmare inches closer to reality

Yet another article

In an extensive memo called "The Web is the Next Platform" that was introduced as evidence in Microsoft's antitrust trial five years ago, Microsoft engineer Ben Slivka described a "nightmare" scenario for the software giant.

"The Web...exists today as a collection of technologies that deliver some interesting solutions today, and will grow rapidly in the coming years into a full-fledged platform (underlined for emphasis in the original memo) that will rival--and even surpass--Microsoft's Windows," Slivka wrote.

Microsoft, however, didn't heed the warning. Instead, it embarked on a strategy--championed by Jim Allchin, who today heads up development of the next version of Windows--that was fanatically focused on the operating system.

Google becoming a very real threat to Microsoft

Try imagining a future where developers will write to Web platforms without thinking about an individual computer or operating system. That once was Netscape's dream. If this does come to pass, Google could build an ecosystem around itself in much the same way Microsoft did with Windows. If Microsoft's latest moves can't clear out its corporate arteries, the future could be all Google, all the time.

Link to article.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

GoogleTV is hiring

Google is laying the groundwork to enter the TV business, judging from a job posting for a GoogleTV product manager.

Google's anticipated entry into TV land has been an evolving process, which has included the debut of a prototype earlier this year to search TV programming. And on Wednesday, Google's TV efforts were a topic of discussion on several blogs that pointed to the job posting on Google's site.

According to the posting, Google is looking for someone to help get its search and advertising technologies into products that enhance viewers' TV experience. Google said it is seeking someone to "identify key market trends that are shaping user behavior when watching television."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Librarians Protected in Patriot Act Case

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A federal appeals court has ruled that the names of Connecticut librarians who had been asked to help in an FBI terrorism investigation under the Patriot Act will remain secret pending arguments from prosecutors.

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking the identity of the librarians who received an FBI demand for records about library patrons.

On Tuesday, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York put on hold a lower court's decision that had lifted a gag order shielding the identity of librarians.

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall in New Haven had ruled earlier this month in favor of the ACLU, which argued that the gag order prevented its client from participating in a debate over whether Congress should reauthorize the Patriot Act.

Prosecutors said the gag order prevented only the release of the client's identity, not the client's ability to speak about the Patriot Act.

Prosecutors also argued that revealing the identity of the librarians would be "an alarm bell" that could tip off suspects and jeopardize a federal investigation into terrorism.

Hall rejected many of the same FBI arguments in her ruling to lift the gag order.

"The government may intend the nondisclosure provision to serve some purpose other than the suppression of speech," Hall wrote. "Nevertheless, it has the practical effect of silencing individuals with a constitutionally protected interest in speech and whose voices are particularly important in an ongoing national debate about the intrusion of governmental authority into individual lives."

The Patriot Act, passed shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, removed the requirement that the records sought be those of someone under suspicion. Now, anyone's records can be obtained if the FBI considers them relevant to a terrorism or spying investigation.

Google to offer free Wi-Fi

Google, the online search leader, confirmed Tuesday it has begun a limited test of a free wireless Internet service, called Google WiFi.

The existence of the Wi-Fi service, which offers high-speed connections to the Internet over short distances, is confirmed by public pages on the company’s Web site and was first reported in a Silicon Valley newspaper in July.

Google spokesman Nate Tyler said the current test is limited to two public sites near the company’s Mountain View, California, headquarters -- a pizza parlor and a gym -- located in the heart of Silicon Valley.

“Google WiFi is a community outreach program to offer free wireless access in areas near our headquarters,” Tyler said.

“At this stage in development, we’re focused on collecting feedback from users. We’ll determine next steps as the product evolves,” he said.

Free wireless communications would take Google even further from its Internet search roots and move it into the fiercely competitive world of Internet access providers and telecommunications companies.

Tyler said the project was started as part of a Google engineer’s “20 percent time project.”

Google encourages its engineers to spend 20 percent of their work time developing independent projects. Several of Google’s new products have grown out of such projects, including Google News, contextual advertising program AdSense and social-networking test project Orkut.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

10,000 Articles Not Found On Other Search Engines

From the site:

"FindArticles is focused on delivering the best and most essential search results. There are different kinds of searches. You can cast a wide net and see what you catch, but we believe there's a better way. Why not rely on credible, freely available information you can trust? By working with the best sources, we have assembled all the essential publications covering a wide range of subjects — and are continually adding to our collection.

Our publications and subjects are organized by major categories: Arts & Entertainment, Automotive, Business & Finance, Computers & Technology, Health & Fitness, Home & Garden, News & Society, Reference & Education, and Sports.

Discover exactly what you need at FindArticles, using either browsing or searching techniques. Select a specific publication up front, or start with a general search and then include or exclude publications. Insert new search terms as needed to pinpoint the most relevant results. Then sort results by article date, length, relevance or publication name. It's all very easy to do here.

FindArticles has articles from thousands of resources, with archives dating back to 1984. That means you get to search for exactly what you need, from millions of articles not found on any other search engine. Please think of us any time you want to Find Articles."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Libravox: acoustical liberation of books in the public domain = free audiobooks

LibriVox is an open source audio-literary attempt to harness the power of the many to record and disseminate, in podcast form, books from the public domain. It works like this: a book is chosen, then volunteers read and record one or more chapters. We liberate the audio files through this webblog/podcast every week. LibriVox is a VOLUNTEER project: if you have problems with the quality of a recording, get busy and make another one; If you wish to listen, please enjoy; if you wish to record, please contact librivox.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Cool New On Line Music Service

Pandora, a project of the Music Genome Project, creates a streaming radio station built personally for you and your musical preferences (sort of like Amazon's "if you like this book, try these" approach.)

They also have a blog with RSS.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina's Impact on Libraries

From the American Library Association.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's August 29 landfall on the Gulf
Coast, the fate of many of the region's libraries is still uncertain.
American Libraries will post news of any library-related damage on an
ongoing basis as we learn of it. Watch this site for updates.

Houston (Tex.) Chronicle, August 31:
Craig Nocaise, 21, a police officer, waited out the storm inside the Pass
Christian (Miss.) Public Library, a branch of the Harrison County Library
System, with 12 other town police. They noticed about a dozen of their
police cars circling the building on a current of water. Then one crashed
through the front door. Water poured in and rose quickly. When the back
glass door wouldn't open, the officers pulled their guns and fired at least
50 rounds into it before it shattered. They each then grabbed a cable line
and climbed onto the roof, where they spent the next three hours in
130-mile-an-hour winds. "We lost every patrol car," said Nocaise. "We still
haven't found some. They're probably in the Gulf somewhere." Asked more
about the experience in the library, Nocaise choked up and walked away.

Baltimore (Md.) Sun, August 31:

In Gulfport, Mississippi, Katrina chewed up such everyday items as
furniture, computers, and a piano and spat them back onto the city's
crumbling streets and beaches. In what was once the public library, wet
books formed a mound of soggy pulp.

Biloxi (Miss.) Sun-Herald, August 29:

In Gulfport, windows were blown out and the business district was partially
underwater. The damage was described by Fire Chief Pat Sullivan as
"massive." Waves were breaking across U.S. 90 and there was water standing
in the Gulfport Library.

Biloxi (Miss.) Sun-Herald, August 30:

Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis home in Biloxi: The bottom floor of the
Presidential Library and the home itself were gutted. A Confederate flag,
though, still draped over the arm of Davis's statue in the library.

Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger, August 31:

The University of Southern Mississippi, Alcorn State University, and Jackson
State University, as well as private Tougaloo College, remained without
power and communication access on Tuesday afternoon. On Tuesday at JSU,
students slept on makeshift beds in the student union and library, where
generators could provide light.

"I would say 90 percent of the structures between the beach and the railroad
in Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, and Pass Christian are totally destroyed,"
Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday. "They're not severely damaged, they're
simply not there. . . . I can only imagine that this is what Hiroshima
looked like 60 years ago."

Cincinnati (Ohio) Post, August 31:

Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon
because of the heavy Katrina-related rains. The order triggered
implementation of the Kentucky Emergency Management Plan, which coordinates
response and relief activities in response to the emergency. The heavy rain
exacerbated leaks at the three-year-old Boone County Justice Center in
Burlington, Kentucky. "I've never seen anything like it," said Union,
Kentucky, attorney Edwin Kagin. There was a leak in the fourth floor men's
bathroom, which deputy sheriffs closed down, he said, and a leak in the law
library. "I couldn't believe it. I was in the law library and I hear this
plunk, and there's a bucket catching water," he said.

Tyler (Tex.) Morning Telegraph, August 31:

Tyler Public Library sent its bookmobile to the hurricane shelter Tuesday
afternoon. It provided books, magazines, and other reading material to
evacuees from Louisiana.

Other sources:

Evacuees from New Orleans are also being sent to the Houston area. The
Harris County Public Library in Humble, Texas, north of Houston, has
announced that evacuees are being given full residential privileges by the

Water Damage FAQ:

The ALA Library has a fact sheet with some links to sites on the proper
steps to take in cleaning up a library after a disaster.

Posted August 31, 2005.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Libraries of the Future?

Here are a couple of examples of traditional libraries morphing into forms that more closely fit the needs of their user communities. So, what does the future hold?

From: Is this the library of the future?

By Megan Lane
BBC News Online

The word library is set to fade from our vocabulary - but not because we've fallen out of love with books. Today's libraries are being made over as "idea stores", complete with cafés, crèches and multi-media offerings.

From: Bye, Bye, Library

By Kris Axtman
Christian Science Monitor

The UT library is undergoing a radical change, becoming more of a social gathering place more akin to a coffeehouse than a dusty, whisper-filled hall of records. And to make that happen, the undergraduate collection of books had to go.

Talk Like a Pirate Day - Sept. 19

Libraries with Pirattitude: The North Regional/Broward Community College library in Coconut Creek, Florida will celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sept 19 starting at 6:30 PM with a showing of "a popular pirate movie" whose name they can't publicize because of contractual requirements.

You, too, can talk like a pirate!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Google to Release "GoogleTalk" Tomorrow

From Search Engine Journal

Google Talk - Instant Messaging and VOIP App from Google?
When Google talks, the world listens. People get ready to open your ears, because Google is about to speak loud and clear as the Internet anticipates the release this week of Google Talk - the Google Instant Messaging service. Google executives have hinted that the company will be releasing a new communications tool on Wednesday and most clues and leaks point to the messaging and/or VOIP tool from Google - Google Talk.

Unlike most net rumors, the buzz around Google Talk has legs to stand on. First reason is that the subdomain is live and redirects usersto which now serves a 404 error message. For the most part, if Google is not using a subdomain it does not exist at all and would not redirect or serve any message.

Chances also exist that the Google offering will go beyond messaging or chat and be a total voice operated communications system, offering VOIP technology with the ability to do VOIP to telephone calls as well. Google’s recent acquisition of Android may also point to the new Google Talk tool also being mobile friendly.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Book Vending Machines in Paris

Readers craving Homer, Baudelaire or Lewis Carroll in the middle of the night can get a quick fix at one of the French capital's five newly installed book vending machines.

Stocked with 25 of Maxi-Livres best-selling titles, the machines cover the gamut of literary genres and tastes. Classics like "The Odyssey" by Homer and Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" share the limited shelf space with such practical must-haves as "100 Delicious Couscous" and "Verb Conjugations."

Regardless of whether they fall into the category of high culture or low, all books cost a modest $2.45.

What's the hottest brand on the Web these days? The orange RSS icon.

There is now a venture capital fund, called RSS Investors, which is based in Cambridge, Mass. Currently, the fund has $20 million, although it plans on raising as much as $100 million. Jim Moore, one of the fund partners, says the fund will focus on Series A investments of $3 million to $5 million.

Where does he see the sweet spots? He sees opportunity in infrastructure products, such as those that will allow better filtering, search, scalability and security.

He thinks developers will leverage RSS into enterprise products. How? Well, an RSS platform can help employees collaborate on projects. It could even help with collaboration with alliance partners and suppliers.

He also thinks RSS will result in the emergence of thriving online communities. For example, a community of cancer specialists can use RSS to share their findings. No doubt, the growth from communities can be staggering, as seen with the success with, a social networking site catering to young music fans.

Link to Forbes Article.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Smart Light Bulbs

Fujitsu has developed a light bulb that, when it dies, sends an SMS message out through the electrical wires to the internet to an SMS phone saying, in essence, "I am dead, buy a new bulb." Cool!

The Ministry of Reshelving

This weekend, prankster/gamer/performance artist Jane McGonigal and The Ministry of Reshelving launched an effort to put copies of Orwell's 1984 in its "appropriate" section of book stores.

From the site:

How to Serve the Ministry of Reshelving

1. Select a local bookstore to carry out your reshelving activities.

2. Download and print "This book has been relocated by the Ministry of Reshelving" bookmarks and "All copies of 1984 have been relocated" notecards to take with you to the bookstore. Or make your own. We recommend bringing a notecard and 5-10 bookmarks to each store.

3. Go to the bookstore and locate its copies of George Orwell's 1984. Unless the Ministry of Reshelving has already visited this bookstore, it is probably currently incorrectly classified as "Fiction" or "Literature."

4. Discreetly move all copies of 1984 to a more suitable section, such as "Current Events", "Politics", "History", "True Crime", or "New Non-Fiction."

5. Insert a Ministry of Reshelving bookmark into each copy of any book you have moved. Leave a notecard in the empty space the books once occupied.

6. If you spot other incorrectly classified books, feel free to relocate them.

7. Please report all reshelving efforts to the Ministry. Email your store name, location, # of 1984 copies reshelved, and any other reshelving activities conducted, to reshelving @ Photos of your mission can be uploaded to Flickr, tagged as "reshelving", and submitted to the Ministry of Reshelving group.

Their goal is to relocate one thousand nine hundred and eighty-four copies, and to complete successful reshelving of 1984 in all 50 United States. Global contributions are welcome.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Free Wi-Fi? Get Ready for GoogleNet.

From Business 2.0

What if Google (GOOG) wanted to give Wi-Fi access to everyone in America? And what if it had technology capable of targeting advertising to a userís precise location? The gatekeeper of the worldís information could become one of the globeís biggest Internet providers and one of its most powerful ad sellers, basically supplanting telecoms in one fell swoop. Sounds crazy, but how might Google go about it?

First it would build a national broadband network -- let's call it the GoogleNet -- massive enough to rival even the country's biggest Internet service providers. Business 2.0 has learned from telecom insiders that Google is already building such a network, though ostensibly for many reasons. For the past year, it has quietly been shopping for miles and miles of "dark," or unused, fiber-optic cable across the country from wholesalers such as New Yorkís AboveNet. It's also acquiring superfast connections from Cogent Communications and WilTel, among others, between East Coast cities including Atlanta, Miami, and New York. Such large-scale purchases are unprecedented for an Internet company, but Google's timing is impeccable. The rash of telecom bankruptcies has freed up a ton of bargain-priced capacity, which Google needs as it prepares to unleash a flood of new, bandwidth-hungry applications. These offerings could include everything from a digital-video database to on-demand television programming.

An even more compelling reason for Google to build its own network is that it could save the company millions of dollars a month. Here's why: Every time a user performs a search on Google, the data is transmitted over a network owned by an ISP -- say, Comcast (CMCSK) -- which links up with Google's servers via a wholesaler like AboveNet. When AboveNet bridges that gap between Google and Comcast, Google has to pay as much as $60 per megabit in IP transit fees. As Google adds bandwidth-intensive services, those costs will increase. Big networks owned by the likes of AT&T (T) get around transit fees by striking "peering" arrangements, in which the networks swap traffic and no money is exchanged. By cutting out middlemen like AboveNet, Google could share traffic directly with ISPs to avoid fees.

Encyclopedia Britannica - RSS Feeds

Encyclopædia Britannica now has RSS feeds. It might make for an interesting addition to a library site.

Read more about it here

Friday, August 12, 2005

Google pauses library project

Google will temporarily stop scanning copyright-protected books from libraries into its database, the company said late Thursday.

The company's library project, launched in December, involves the scanning of out-of-print and copyright works so that their text can be found through the search engine's database. Google is working on the project with libraries at Stanford University, Harvard University and other schools.

The plan has come under fire from several groups, including publishers, who object to what they claim are violations of their copyrights.

Google said on its blog late Thursday that, following discussions with "publishers, publishing industry organizations and authors," it will stop scanning in copyright books until November, while it makes changes to its Google Print Publisher Program.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

WorldCat adds One Billionth Holding!

From It's All Good

About 40 minutes ago, a library somewhere in the 96 countries and territories in which OCLC has members added the billionth holding to WorldCat! A billion things that OCLC and its members know the whereabouts of, in public libraries, academic libraries, theological libraries, law libraries, medical libraries, historical society libraries and all the other kinds of libraries that are represented in the OCLC family of over 53,500 libraries. A billion holdings added to over 60 million records over a span of about 34 years by at least three generations of librarians working collectively to build WorldCat from the small, local database it began as to the stellar international resource it is today.

Britannica ships Ultimate Reference Suite 2006

Encyclopedia Britannica today announced the 2006 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Ultimate Reference Suite. The reference guide, now available on DVD and CD-ROM, is the latest version of Britannica’s multimedia software, which includes Homework Helpdesk, a collection of special features aimed at helping students complete assignments at home. Helpdesk has guides to preparing papers and oral presentations, learning games and activities, and easy access to statistics on the countries of the world, among other features. The 2006 edition offers an updated interface, improves performance, and also includes features on history, people and animals that are updated daily (via the internet). It will be available later this month for $50.

The Ultimate Reference Suite has three encyclopedias: the entire 32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica, Britannica Student Encyclopedia and Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia. Each encyclopedia forms the cornerstone of an integrated “reference library” with its own distinctive interface that includes a dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, and historical timelines appropriate to the age of the user. The company says that this allows students to advance to the next level when they're ready as well as offers a solution for adults.

Getting Ready to Award My Prizes

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction represents the very best in contemporary fiction. One of the world’s most prestigious awards, and one of incomparable influence, it continues to be the pinnacle of ambition for every fiction writer. It has the power to transform the fortunes of authors, and even publishers. In 2004, not only did Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty reach the bestseller lists, but previous winners The Life of Pi (2002) and Vernon God Little (2003) were also amongst the bestselling books of the year.

List Here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Spanish Set to Become Official Language of Seven Denver Public Library Branches

In a sharp break from American tradition, the Denver Public Library is promoting a plan that would make seven of its branches "Spanish focused," banishing English language books to the backroom. The "Languages and Learning" plan would dramatically increase Spanish language offerings and staff, designating some locations as Spanish dominant. The proposal is currently under review by the Library Commission and an advisory board. LINK

Friday, July 29, 2005

Something Fun! OCLC’s Top 1,000 List

Something Fun! OCLC’s Top 1,000 List

OCLC Research has compiled a list of the 1,000 books held by the greatest number of libraries in WorldCat. OCLC used FRBR algorithms and human analysis to pull together editions, translations, and printings of each title in order to rank the intellectual work rather than a specific manifestation. The resulting list is fascinating in itself, but then they subdivided the list by useful categories (e.g.: Children’s, Drama, Books Into Film), added fun factoids (e.g.: William Shakespeare has the most works on the list and Stephen King didn’t make the list at all), and included links to libraries for people who might want to find one of the titles. They also compare the list to other “top 100” lists. You can even download the list, if you so desire. To explore the list yourself, go here

Be careful! As OCLC warns, the list can become addictive!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

First Place: Dan McKay - Fargo, ND
As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.

Runner Up: Mitsy Rae - Danbury, NE
When Detective Riggs was called to investigate the theft of a trainload of Native American fish broth concentrate bound for market, he solved the case almost immediately, being that the trail of clues led straight to the trainmaster, who had both the locomotive and the Hopi tuna tea.

Grand Panjandrum's Special Award: Bryan Semrow - Oshkosh, WI
Captain Burton stood at the bow of his massive sailing ship, his weathered face resembling improperly cured leather that wouldn't even be used to make a coat or something.

Gets worse

Michael Palin's Travel Books - Free Online

Former Python Michael Palin has made a name for himself lately as a brilliant travel-writer and the host of a series of excellent travel documentaries. He has put the full text of all of his amazing travel-books online for free. They're spread out across multiple html pages, unfortunately, so they're not suited to downloading for reading on your phone on the Tube in the morning, but man is this ever a step in the right direction.