Monday, January 31, 2005

Web's Biggest Directory Search Engine

Aggregates a bunch 'o search engines:

Project Gutenberg and MARC Records

Project Gutenberg would like your library to join its MARC record testing program.

"You and your library can choose the eBooks in this testing program, and can make sure eBook MARC records for these eBooks meet your staff requirements for MARC records."

Full message from Michael S. Hart, Project Gutenberg Executive Coordinator is available here.

For another perspective, check out comments on TeleRead.

One Librarian's perspective on RSS

"Think about your average day, one of the most important things you can to to remain relevant to your institution is to read. Journals, newsletters, books, newspapers etc. I receive tables of contents via e-mail, in paper, have people recommend articles and leave them on my desk. Theoretically this reading is supposed to help you learn and grow professionally but much to my shame I never seem to find the time to read. When I do get around to cleaning my desktop and e-mail box my first instinct is to recycle and move on (promising all the time to do better)."

"RSS has changed this for me. I am using RSS to setup a personal "newspaper" that is filled with content that is of interest to me. Now I take 15-30 minutes of my day and skim my paper and read what interests me."
<Link to Article

Quick Google search of government documents

Googlefox? 2 Firefox dev. move to Google

IE has lost five percent of its market share directly to Firefox, a product publicized almost exclusively through word of mouth alone. Think about the user reaction -- spurred by perceived virus vulnerabilities and quality concerns -- if Google were to launch a browser and advertise it heavily.

Friday, January 28, 2005

OCLC Research Sponsors Software Contest to Encourage Innovation

Yesterday, OCLC Research announced a contest intended to give developers an outlet for creative software development of library services. Contestants can enter by going to

It would be very cool of someone from CCLA won this contest!

e-Portfolios Helped UBC Students Develop Career-Savvy Skills

e-Portfolios are personalized collections of an individual’s work, which are used to demonstrate their skills and accomplishments, that can be viewed over the Web. The creator can add personal commentary and reflect on the artifacts, or pieces of work, they include in their portfolio, which helps them measure and understand their personal development over a period of time.

The person who owns the portfolio can provide selective access to individuals or the public, and invite feedback from others. Most importantly, the e-Portfolio is a tool that gives the student a sense of ownership and puts them at the centre of their learning process.

Librarians no longer needed.....

A discussion has broken out in the UK about proposals from the University of Bangor to reduce the number of librarians in light of the changed environment of search. This is a passage from the message from a library staff member which sparked the debate:
The University of Wales Bangor in the UK no longer feel that subject librarians / academic liaison librarians are needed in the modern academic library. They have made restructuring proposals which include removing all bar one of the subject librarians and a tier of the library management, including the Head of Bibliographic Services. The university management thinks that technology has 'deskilled' literature searching. As far as I know, this proposal is unprecedented in the United Kingdom.

In essence, there will remain 4 professional librarians serving a 'research-led' university of 8,000 plus FTEs and with 8 library sites. These will be the university librarian, cataloguing librarian, acquisitions librarian and Law librarian. [LIS-CILIP Archives -- January 2005 (#67)]
There is a consultation period lasting until 28 February.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Apple quietly raises the stakes - 5.6 Terabyte Xserve RAID

The gigabyte-per-dollar ratio of Xserve RAID is the best in the world for Fibre Channel storage, and trumps most SCSI storage solutions as well. Xserve RAID offers up to 5.6TB of high-performance redundant storage at just over $2 per gigabyte — a fraction of the cost of storage from Dell, HP, Sun or IBM. The days of seemingly unlimited IT budgets are long gone — no more blank checks for digital asset management — so as an IT professional, you need to cut costs, without cutting corners. For that reason alone, we think you’ll appreciate our pragmatic approach to help you save huge amounts of data — as well as a nice chunk of change.

Click photo to link.

Good Presentation on blogs and KM

With so many virtual teams today, along with what some are calling the “collapse of email.” Organizations are looking for new and innovative ways for teams to communicate. For many, the integrated communication and information-sharing system that inexpensive Blogs and Wikis provide are just what the doctor ordered. In this session, attendees will learn:
  • What tools provide what benefits

  • Real-world examples of organizations leveraging these applications

  • How to overcome organizational resistance to new systems

  • How self-organizing communities can benefit your company

Click Here

Using blogs in a crisis

The middle of a crisis is probably the last time you’re going to think of using blogs as a way of communicating - but there’s an interesting article on Fast Company that might be worth reading and mentally filing about they could be used in the midst of a PR crisis.
The standard approach to responding to a crisis is to hunker down behind closed doors. Blogs can help companies remain accessible.

But rather than waiting for a crisis to hit, a more intelligent approach would be to use of blogs to communicate about day-to-day service issues - after which they would become the natural response to a crisis situation.

A good example of this is the UK-based ISP PlusNet - they have a blog and RSS feed that they use to update customers on what’s going on with their network and service. Not only does it allow them to communicate proactively about what’s going to happen - maintenance downtime, for example - but also allows them a way of keeping customers informed about major problems as and when they arise.

And of course, this isn’t just restricted to the public face of the company. If you’re running a service function within an organisation - and if you’re not serving someone, perhaps you need to question whether you’ve got your priorities straight! - why not use an internal blog to keep your internal customers in the picture? Not only are you easing the information flows within your organisation, over time you’ll also buld a much higher profile within the business - particularly important if you want to promote your function as one that adds value rather than costs.

It boils down to a maxim given to me by an older, wiser colleague early on in my project management career - “a good project is one with no surprises”. Keep people informed, and you can get away with much more!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Internet Explorer is rapidly losing market share...

Something for us to consider:

Firefox has garnered more than 20 million downloads, and IE is down to about a 90% market share. Nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but it's not hard to see the downward trend. How is Firefox doing this? Why, by building a better browser and giving it away free. Speakeasy, one of the nation's bigger DSL providers, has announced that it will offer a version of the Firefox browser to subscribers.

c/net commentator Charles Cooper says:
If Steve Ballmer wants to pay a courtesy call, he can always hop on Highway 520 and drive a half hour to Speakeasy's corporate headquarters (depending upon the time of day, of course.) But whining won't do the trick. I dumped Internet Explorer last year and haven't regretted the decision. Fact is that Microsoft, fat and happy in monopoly heaven, has done precious little to advance the state of browser technology. Since besting Netscape in the browser wars in the late 1990's, the company's attention has been elsewhere. And now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Another article here.

Top 100 RSS feeds

Nice list of RSS feeds - wide variety here.

Best photo sites on the Internet - IMHO

Best photo sites on the Internet - some with RSS updates:

Do You See What I See
Daily Dose of Imagery
Satan's Laundromat
The Snowsuit Effort
Catcher in the Eye
Heather Champ
Luke Tymowski
Visual Diaries
Donald Tetto
Joe's NYC
Art Coup
Orbit 1

VERY impressive blog from U of Winnepeg Library - A MUST SEE!

One of the most complete Library Blogs I have ever seen, here.

Includes RSS feeds for:
  • Databases

  • Favourite Online Reference Sources and Tools

  • Favourite Print Reference Sources

  • New Online Reference Sources

  • New Print Reference Sources

Is Google a bit hypocritical about blogging???

I came across an interesting post on another blog. It seems a new Google employee was blogging about his experiences at Google and someone took offense.

Here is an archived version of his blog (from Yahoo's cache):

And here is it now - live. All gone......

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

AOL drops newsgroups

America Online on Tuesday confirmed that it will stop supporting access to newsgroups, a once-popular feature on the Internet that has since become overshadowed by message boards and blogs.

The Internet giant has begun informing users that its AOL Newsgroup interface will be discontinued as early as February, according to a notice posted on the site. AOL users will still be able to access newsgroups through Google Groups or by using a third party reader such as Mozilla's Thunderbird, the notice adds.

AOL's decision to scrap newsgroup support comes as other forms of online community have taken favor, according to company spokeswoman Jaymelina Esmele.

"We are seeing that traffic on newsgroups is pretty minimal at this point," she said. "With features like message boards, chat rooms and AOL Blogs, the majority of our member are turning to these to engage in topics of interest to them."

The newsgroup shut-down was first reported by online news site

AOL's newsgroups have led to some trouble for the Internet provider. Earlier this year, AOL settled a lawsuit with writer Harlan Ellison, who sued the company for copyright infringement. Ellison claimed AOL violated copyright laws because his works appeared on newsgroups available through the service.

Usenet newsgroups were once a primary destination for Internet users to chat about interests and issues with people around the world. During the early days of the Internet before the Web took off, AOL and other ISPs viewed newsgroup access as a feature to appeal to new customers and retain existing ones.

But the birth of the Web created new forms of online community that offered more splash than the text-based newsgroup. Web publishing in the form of blogs and personal home pages and other forms of online chat rooms have become a more popular way for people to interact.

Google Debuts Video Search

Google is launching Google Video, a new experimental service that allows you to search across the full-text transcripts of San Francisco bay area television programs from 10 channels, as well as the programming from CSPAN 1 and CSPAN 2. Google Video functions by pulling down television signals through antennas and satellite dishes on the roof of the Googleplex and indexing the closed-caption information that's transmitted along with each broadcast.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The grassroots movement to post "vlogs" makes amazing viewing

Following in the footsteps of text blogs, video blogs are starting to take off on the Internet. Right now it is just interesting and a bit amusing, but think of the myriad possibilities of streaming video via blogs. Link to Business Week article here.

One of the "better" vlogs here.

The Centered Librarian

Searchers:confident, satisfied and trusting – unaware and na├»veFrom a 1/23 Report of the Pew/Internet and the American Life project.

Very Good Web-Based News Aggregator

Nearest Neighbor News Network is another web-based aggregator. From the site:

"NNNN collects articles from news sites and weblogs of your choosing and then displays them all together. It also displays other articles that it believes you would be interested in."

Easy set-up, easy to add feeds, easy to delete feeds, easy to read feeds. The feed interface is well organized. Recommendations on the left, my personal feeds on the right.

SCONAL Vision of Libraries in 2010

The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONAL)has a vision for libraries in 2010 posted on its website. It is a short document.
Library and information services will move from a 'one-size-fits all' approach to the personalisation of the delivery and support of space, services and content provision. For example, library buildings will be designed with very different user needs in mind, providing discrete areas for social learning, research-based learning, group activity, etc.

Smells over the web via XML - (should I build an icon?)

A researcher at Huelva University in Spain claims to have created a version of XML that can transmit smells, or fragrances if you prefer, according to the Inquirer which has picked up on an article published in Spanish elmundo

"The university said that it's worked with researchers in both computing and chemistry to come up with the concept of the XML Smell language.

The researchers said they quickly realised that smells could be propagated over networks and the Web. And so they have created XML Smell, which they claim can define in universal and standardised way the transmission of smell which allows the transmission of fragrances by email, by SMS to a mobile phone, or via a TV show.

Currently, the boffins are designing a device which will sit close to a TV, a radio, a phone or a PC, and which contains a "smell palette". The components in the palette are realised according to instructions contained in the XML Smell language."

Pew Research on Search Engine Use

Internet users are extremely positive about search engines and the experiences they have when searching the internet. But these same satisfied internet users are generally unsophisticated about why and how they use search engines. They are also strikingly unaware of how search engines operate and how they present their results.

Internet users behave conservatively as searchers: They tend to settle quickly on a single search engine and then stick with it, rather than switching as search technology evolves or comparing results from different search systems. Some 44% of searchers regularly use just one engine, and another 48% use just two or three. Nearly half of searchers use a search engines no more than a few times a week, and two-thirds say they could walk away from search engines without upsetting their lives very much.

Internet users trust their favorite search engines, but few say they are aware of the financial incentives that affect how search engines perform and how they present their search results.

Only 38% of users are aware of the distinction between paid or “sponsored” results and unpaid results. And only one in six say they can always tell which results are paid or sponsored and which are not. This finding is ironic, since nearly half of all users say they would stop using search engines if they thought engines were not being clear about how they presented paid results.

PDF available here.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Webstats added to The Centered librarian

I have added a webstats collection feature to the blog. It will take a few days to populate, but you can reach the following link using the supplied username and password:

User Name: tclblog
Password: cclablog
Click here

Use the "Blog This!" menu bar to quickly post

Drag the "Blog This!" icon from the top of this page (next to "search") into your browser menu bar for a quick link to posting on the blog. Just edit the title and content (which defaults to the blog name and URL - all editable) of the popup windw and publish!

British Library Presents First Fully Integrated Wireless Working Environment

Managing Information News announces:
The British Library and Building Zones are inviting visitors to step into Central London's largest WiFi hotspot at the Library's St Pancras site to sample the ultimate workplace of the future.
John de Lucy, the Library's Head of Estates and Facilities said "Since our WiFi service launched last year, the British Library has become one of the busiest public hotspots in the UK. With this exhibition, we show the possibilities for highly productive work zones by integrating public space, furniture and technology to create an inspiring work experience.

Tagsys Has New Tag for Libraries

RFID hardware supplier Tagsys has announced the release of its FOLIO 320 tag, designed for use with library applications for theft prevention, inventory control, the check-in/check-out of library materials and sorting returned items. The tag has a 256-bit memory capacity and comes with an adhesive backing for insertion inside books or onto other library items such as CDs. The FOLIO 320 meets ISO/IER DTR 18047-3, the conformance test for the ISO 18000-3 interoperability standard. Tagsys, which has its U.S. headquarters in Doylestown, Pa., recommends the use of its tags and readers with a data management system that fully complies with American Library Association and National Information Standards Organization recommendations for assuring patron privacy. The FOLIO 320 tag is available immediately; pricing information was not released.

Library of Congress/ C-SPAN Digital Futute series

Beginning Monday, November 15, 2004 until March 2005, C-SPAN is televising a live series of discussions hosted by the Library of Congress' John W. Kluge Center. The series will examine how the digital age is changing the most basic ways information is organized and classified.

Two of the seven part series have already aired.

On November 15, David Weinberger, former senior internet adviser to the Howard Dean presidential campaign, discussed how weblogs work & their value in gathering knowledge. Webcast available from Kluge Center. Audio is available for free from

Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian, Director and Co-founder of the Internet Archive, presented "Universal Access to Knowledge" on December 13. Audio is available for free from

Full series schedule and details about the five remaining programs are available here.

RFID circulation solution for CD/DVD

CDs and DVDs are the fastest growing collections in libraries today and are in high demand by patrons. Checkpoint has announced a "one-case" CD/DVD circulation solution which is compatible with RFID. It's a case-based answer, unlike Bibliotecha's approach of using a tag on the media itself. Case unlocking units make it possible for patrons to self-check and for staff to easily re-secure ..

Is that the WorldCat in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

WorldCat is our union catalogue of about 56 million bibliographic records, which represent approximately a billion holdings. It is about 50 gigabytes in MARC Communications (100+ gigabytes in XML) format and about 23 gigabytes compressed. Thom has a 40 gig iPod which can accommodate WorldCat on its disk with room left for 5,000 song tracks.

Free on-line Survey Tool

At least the basic services are free:

Zoomerang is the premium global online survey software that business, organizations and individuals use to create professional, customized surveys.

Intuitive step-by-step interface-no technical expertise necessary

More than 200 countries use Zoomerang to conduct customer satisfaction surveys, market research, and much more

Multiple survey deployment options: email, web link, or targeted list

Automatically generated reports to assist you with real-time results analysis

Additional services available such as providing survey respondents and language translation

New Blog from Talis - panlibus

Welcome to the panlibus blog, where some Talis staff will muse, reflect, declare and who knows what about the library and information business and other loosely connected things. We’ll do this from a personal viewpoint, not representing Talis in any way.

You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.

From Google's "Our Philosophy"
Courtesy of Greg Lee

The world is increasingly mobile and unwilling to be constrained to a fixed location. Whether it's through their PDAs, their wireless phones or even their automobiles, people want information to come to them. Google's innovations in this area include Google Number Search, which reduces the number of keypad strokes required to find data from a web-enabled cellular phone and an on-the-fly translation system that converts pages written in HTML to a format that can be read by phone browsers. This system opens up billions of pages for viewing from devices that would otherwise not be able to display them, including Palm PDAs and Japanese i-mode, J-Sky, and EZWeb devices. Wherever search is likely to help users obtain the information they seek, Google is pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Must read frol the Chronicle of Higher Education

There is an interesting digest of Libqual results in the current ARL Bimonthly Report. What particularly caught my eye was the discussion of the library website:

According to LibQUAL data, many library patrons, particularly undergraduates are not taking full advantage of the information available from library Web sites. While about 40% of faculty at ARL universities reported using the library Web site on a daily basis (still much lower than the number that use search engines daily), only 11% of undergraduates said they used the Web site with the same frequency, and 5.5% of undergraduates said they never use the library Web site--more than twice the percentage of faculty who never use it. This disparity may result from undergraduates not being aware of the services provided by library Web sites, not knowing how to access and use these services, or being lured to other Web sites. Undergraduates gave a rating of 6.04--the lowest rating they gave for any item--for their perception of how well the library keeps them informed of useful services. And undergraduates rated their perception of the ease of use of electronic resources below their minimum level of acceptable service for that area.

Librarians should not assume that college students welcome their help in doing research online. The typical freshman assumes that she is already an expert user of the Internet, and her daily experience leads her to believe that she can get what she wants online without having to undergo a training program. Indeed, if she were to use her library's Web site, with its dozens of user interfaces, search protocols, and limitations, she might with some justification conclude that it is the library, not her, that needs help understanding the nature of electronic information retrieval.

Information literacy is also harmful because it encourages librarians to teach ways to deal with the complexity of information retrieval, rather than to try to reduce that complexity. That effect is probably not intentional or even conscious, but it is insidious. It is not uncommon for librarians to speak, for example, of the complexity of searching for journal articles as if that were a fact of nature. The only solution, from the information-literacy point of view, is to teach students the names of databases, the subjects and titles they include, and their unique search protocols -- although all of those facts change constantly, ensuring that the information soon becomes obsolete, if it is not forgotten first. Almost any student could suggest a better alternative: that the library create systems that eliminate the need for instruction.

Google-like Job Search

Feedster has released a jobs search page. Neat. From the press release: "Feedster adds over 5,000 job postings to its index daily. This number will increase exponentially as several more significant resources add their feeds to the Feeds.

The Centered Librarian

Here's an interesting post and request for help from Karen Schneider of Free Range Librarian apropos the upcoming conference on Blogging, Journalism and Credibility -in part sponsoerd by ALA (which ironically doesn't have a blog).
Blogging and Ethics at FreeRangeLibrarian
We’ve all heard about Google Print. In two recent articles (The Universal Library and Other Book Digitization Projects and Google Partners with Oxford, Harvard & Others to Digitize Libraries) Gary Price sums up the other sources for free full text books online. These include:

Project Gutenberg

The Universal Library

Internet Archive

The Online Book Page

The National Academy Press
(This publisher offers access to over 3000 current and older publications)

"To Do" list via RSS

Ta-da Lists offers an on-line "to do" list that can be shared and beamed to you and your group via RSS.

SMS alerts to your phone or pager about any RSS feed

FeedBeep is the final link between you and the wealth of information published on the internet. Hundreds of thousands of data feeds are available in RSS format, and now you can receive alerts about events worldwide — as they happen — right on your SMS-capable phone. Alerts can be set to go to your mobile device or our web messaging system based on your keywords or any time new information is posted to a feed.

Google, Yahoo, MSN Unite On Support For Nofollow Attribute For Links

Search Engine Watch reports that the major search engines have unveiled a new indexing command for web authors.

The new attribute is called "nofollow" with rel="nofollow" being the format inserted within an anchor tag. When added to any link, it will serve as a flag that the link has not been explicitly approved by the site owner.

Why would you want to use the attribute? Blog publishers, forum operators, sites with guest books and others who allow anyone to contribute in some way to their web sites have suffered when people have used these systems to spam them with links.

The full article is available here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Sirsi Breaks Open the RSS Floodgates

Apparently, Sirsi will be the first ILS vendor to offer native RSS feeds out of the catalog, and they've gone the whole nine yards in terms of searching!

The feeds will be part of their Rooms 2.0 and Enterprise Portal Solution (ESP) release around March. Features will include:
  • The ability to take any OPAC search strategy and convert it into an RSS feed. Because text search engine for our ILS system enables a user to embed MARC and other field codes in the search string, a user could construct a search that searches against title, author, subject, ISBN {020} and any other indexed field within the ILS.

  • The ability to create an RSS feed based on a search of any sources within SingleSearch, Sirsi's MuseGlobal (Gary's sponsor) based federated search product (EBSCO, LoCZ, etc.)

  • The ability to create an RSS feed of Google results.

  • The ability to create an RSS feed of our 'Best of the Web'.

  • The ability to sort the results by date, author, title, or relevance, where applicable.

Get the PDF here

Movies in the public domain available for free download

Several hundred here, including such favorites as:

The Little Shop of Horrors
Hemp for Victory, and
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

More on "Tagging" the Web

Tags are a simple, yet powerful, social software innovation. Today millions of people are freely and openly assigning metadata to content and conversations. Unlike rigid taxonomy schemes that people dislike, the ease of tagging for personal organization with social incentives leads to a rich and discoverable folksonomy. Intelligence is provided by real people from the bottom-up to aid social discovery. And with the right tag search and navigation, folksonomy outperforms more structured approches to classification.

Interesting data here.

Buy your martini with an RFID implant

Bar Soba, a nightclub in Glasgow (Scotland), is about to offer its regulars the option of having a microchip implanted in their arm that will obviate the need to carry their wallet or queue for entry. It's the same chip worn by VIP members at two nightclubs in Barcelona and Rotterdam and by Mexico's Attorney General.

The size of a grain of rice, VeriChip is encased inside a glass and silicone cylinder and implanted between the layer of fat and skin on the upper arm.

The chip, which has a life span of about 20 years sends out a low-range radio frequency when scanned, supplying the scanner with its unique ID number. How that number is used depends on the database the scanner is hooked up to. In the case of Soba, it will be the balance on a person's bar account.

Steve van Soest, one of more than 100 people who have been "chipped" at Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, believes that: "It would be great if this catches on and you could put all your personal details and medical records on it. If I was involved in an accident, doctors could simply scan me and find out my blood group and any allergies."

Social Bookmarks and the OPAC

Just reading and thinking:

How could we make better use of the integration of folksonomiesM and user-based vocabularies?

Why can't our catalog let users find items of interest and then store them for later retrieval using their own tags. Take a look at this Flickr page for architecture. Notice the "related" and "see also" links? The same thing happens on the page for architecture. Imagine the display of this type of folksonomy integrated into a library's catalog, so that users could find titles and subjects for "architecture," but they could also browse by tags (such as "buildings" or "urban"), which they could then bookmark themselves and specify as "public" or "private" (like Furl's "private archive" feature). Aggregate the public tags and let users access their private ones.

What if records retrieved from structured OPAC search results displayed those types of user-based tags alongside the MARC data? (It would be the best of both worlds but the ILS vendors will probably complain.) Then, if a user is really interested in a particular topic, he could subscribe to the feed for the standard subject search, the aggregated user-generated public tag, or a combination of both.

Another idea: add visual "what's popular" and "what's recommended" pages like these to our catalogs. We could also push this via RSS.

Now take this a step further and apply it to reader's advisory. It's pretty obvious that users like sharing their own thoughts and information. Why not take advantage of that? Imagine the read-alikes and recommendations users would build using their own folksonomies! Let them tag cozy mysteries and robot sci fi and financial nonfiction titles how they want to find them. And if you really want to get social about the whole thing, how about building out those tags cross-catalog? What would WorldCat look like if tagged by users, especially now that OCLC has opened it up?

Google Launches Picassa 2

Picasa -- the free photo-sharing service recently bought by Google -- just went live with version 2.0 about an hour ago. Included in the new edition, a collage-generating tool (cool), photographic editing features, CD burning, sending pictures with Gmail, and a Blogger button for automated publishing to your you-know-what.

Hit Song Science

Wolverine Inspector writes "The Music Industry uses a product called HSS (Hit Song Science) made by Spain's Polyphonic HMI. According to The Guardian "while no one's talking about it, it seems that the whole record industry is already using AI to choose hits. From unsigned acts dreaming in their garage, to multinationals such as Sony and Universal, everyone is clandestinely using a new and controversial technology to gain an edge on their competitors." Even though it costs about $5,200 US/$6,500, many artists are starting to buy it to help them write succesfull songs."

Read more here

Friday, January 14, 2005

Top Library Technology Trends Solicited

Great discussion of Tech Trends in Libraries here.

Cellphone features OCR, text-to-speech

We’ve gotten used to cellphones being able to handle voice commands (though we still haven’t programmed voice tags into our phone). Now the Korea-only Pantech & Curitel PH-K2500V has upped the ante and then some. The phone provides text-to-speech functionality for text messages, call logs and address book entries. Additionally, the phone offers what may be a first: built-in OCR software that can pull text out of images shot with its camera. In theory, that means you can snap pics of business cards and import the info into your address book. We’re not sure if this actually works, or if you end up with useless gibberish, but it’s a concept worth watching.

Millennials & Libraries

“…When asked how frequently they used their local public libraries, most reported that they didn't read books for leisure that much (but they do read lots of magazines!) and don't use their libraries that often (there were two notable exceptions -- both young women who said they used their public libraries because they loved to read but couldn't afford to buy books or magazines). When asked what would draw them into their public libraries, they all said the following:
• Wireless internet access
• Remote/electronic access to all library materials
• A more comfortable environment -- couches, coffee, and food all ranked highly
• "More staff who are helpful and who show you where stuff is" -- a direct quote
• Better marketing -- tell the public about what you've got going on!
• More choices in materials
• A movie screening room (this recommendation from an aspiring filmmaker, who was also the only panellist to indicate an interest in becoming a librarian)” [Pop Goes the Library]

click here for article

Let a Thousand Googles Bloom

Last month, Google announced a partnership with major research libraries to scan 20 million books for inclusion in Google's search database. For those works in the public domain, the full text will be available. For those works still possibly under copyright, only snippets will be seen. The potential of this project is only beginning to be understood — it is likely to bring about the most dramatic changes in the nature of research and the spread of culture since the birth of Google itself,1,1292618.story

Thursday, January 13, 2005

OpenURL Referrer for GoogleScholar

Here is a neat little tool for Google Scholar. It allows integration of sfx into the Mozilla Firefox browser.

The OpenURL Referrer, a new extension for the Firefox web browser, adds a link to GoogleScholar's results page that points to the library's full-text copy of the article.

Check it out!

Purdue may join Google library project

LISNews announcement is available here.

A short article in the Purdue student paper is available here.

SFX and library hosted blogs

University of Minnesota Libraries are hosting blogs for the entire UMinn campus. Idea for our CC libraries?
It also allows students to post citation from SFX into their blog.

Twelve Techie Things for Librarians 2005

An absolute "must read". Covers everything from RSS and eResources to branding and marketing.

Google unveils low-cost search appliance

Google on Thursday began selling the Google Mini, a low-price box for corporate intranet search, in a move to diversify its business.

Link to Pic

With the new product, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company hopes to broaden its search-appliance business to cater to smaller businesses with fewer documents and tighter budgets. The blue box, which plugs into a corporate intranet and searches up to 50,000 documents, will go on sale Thursday at for $4,995.

IT Conversations: Free Audio Conference Presentations

You can hear the best presentations at some of the best high tech conferences without paying large attendance fees and without travel. Just click on over to IT Conversations where you can stream or download keynote speeches, interviews, and talks by the likes of Jeff Bezos, Malcom Gladwell, Tim O'Reilly, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gibson and others in the digital limelight who have recently given talks at high-priced conferences. It's a great service. Audio quality is fine. (This site will soon offer the monthly Long Now Seminar series on long-term thinking I'm involved with.) I hope they can land other fine venues. It's a much more civilized way to keep current.

IT Conversations

Authorama - Public Domain Books

This is a new one to me:

Welcome to Authorama, featuring completely free books from a variety of different authors, collected here for you to read online or offline.

Dan Gillmor’s book, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People is now available on in HTML.

Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media's monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not content to accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters are publishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt by professional journalists and the newsmakers they cover. In We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the news.

Important note to readers!

Since I have no way to know how many of you are actually reading the stuff posted here, please comment to this post (below) and let me know that you do read it - at least occasionally. Suggestions are also welcomed.

The Official Blog of the Public Library Association

This inaugural edition of the PLA blog will cover the ALA Midwinter Meeting which takes place in Boston, January 14-19, 2005. The PLA blog effort was begun by librarian, consultant, and blogger Steven M. Cohen, who is best known as the proprietor of and also serves as the Internet Spotlight columnist for "Public Libraries" magazine. Many other persons have signed up to serve as bloggers, and they will provide accounts of activities taking place during Midwinter, that are related to public librarianship. I'd like to thank Steven Cohen as well as the coterie of bloggers who've signed up to help out. As with many PLA events, we couldn't do it without the hard work and dedication of our member volunteers.

The mission of the PLA blog in general, and the Midwinter effort in particular, is twofold: First is to get national library associations (like PLA) excited about blogging, second, and equally, if not more important, is to use the blog to make the conference more immediate and accessible to those unable to attend but who want to "play along at home." We hope you find it both entertaining and educational and we encourage you to let us know what you think about the blog.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Sanity Check for New Product Features

From "Cutting Through"

Here’s a simple technique to use on a regular basis as a ‘sanity check’ for the technical requirements of a development project. The idea is that you guard against the tendency to load the system with glamorous - but unneeded - features that will increases the risk of project failure.

The process is extremely simple:

1. If it’s not already been done, write out the functional specifications as a numbered list of requirements.
2. Do the same for the business requirements that were identified in the earlier stages of the project.
3. Take each functional requirement in turn and cross-reference it against one or more business requirement. At each iteration, ask yourself “what business benefit does this feature deliver?”
4. If there are any functional requirements that can’t be linked to a business requirement, ask yourself if it’s needed - and be very sceptical of the anwer if it’s “yes”.

The idea is simply that each and every feature of a system should deliver some value to the business - if it doesn’t, you’re in danger of building in flashing lights for the sake of it. And there are numerous dangers with that approach:

  • The system will take longer to develop.

  • It will become more complex to use.

  • The internal interactions between features will become more complicated, and unintended consequences will become more likely.

This technique is just the “keep it simple, stupid” approach put to work. But in virtually every organization there are development projects that have gone wrong because of feature creep and its consequences - so this is a technique that’s simple enough to be done quickly to try and guard against these kind of disasters.

Even the "Big Boys" are blogging

If you’re currently engaged in a debate about whether blogging could help the public profile of this organization - and you’re encountering the “if it was any use then big firms would be doing it” line of resistance - you might be interested in pointing out a new blog that’s just come online.

It is General Motors. And it’s not some anonymous drone in the marketing department that’s blogging - it’s the Vice Chairman of Product Development and Chairman of GM North America, Bob Lutz.

Webinar - Beyond Text: Libraries Create and Deliver Access to Rich-media Collections

January 26, 2005. 11AM - 12noon EST.

Register here

Today's information environment goes far beyond plain text. Some of the more compelling content comes in the form of digital images, sound, and video. Libraries interested in building well-rounded collections need the ability to incorporate all these types of resources.

Based on his experience with the large-scale digital video collections of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive and other multimedia collections at Vanderbilt University, Breeding will present an overview of the issues, standards, and technologies surrounding rich media formats. He will describe some of the personnel, hardware, software, and other infrastructure needed to successfully tackle a digital project.

Whether your library plans to produce its own multimedia digital collection or just needs to provide access to resources with digital audio, video, or images, you'll want to tune in to this Institute.

Will blogs become more mainstream in the workplace?

Use of the communications tool is soaring, and two experts say there is potential for even more growth within the corporation, and probably for internal IT use.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

ALA Considers Resolution on RFID and Privacy

There are some new developments at the American Library Association regarding RFID and privacy best practices. The ALA Intellectual Freedome Committee (IFC) is submitting resolution to ALA Council at the upcoming mid-winter meeting.

Link Here

List of libraries doing good things with blogs

There are hundreds of them!

Another North American customer for Ex Libris

Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education selects ALEPH 500 and MetaLib/SFX. Press release available here.

The Future of the Internet

Prediction: Enabled by information technologies, the pace of learning in the next decade will increasingly be set by student choices. In ten years, most students will spend at least part of their “school days” in virtual classes, grouped online with others who share their interests, mastery, and skills.

A wide-ranging survey of technology leaders, scholars, industry officials, and analysts finds that most internet experts expect attacks on the network infrastructure in the coming decade as the internet becomes more embedded in everyday and commercial life. They believe the dawning of the blog era will bring radical change to the news and publishing industry and they think the internet will have the least impact on religious institutions.

Pleasant surprises: These experts are in awe of the development of the Web and the explosion of information sources on top of the basic internet backbone. They also said they were amazed at the improvements in online search technology, the spread of peer-to-peer networks, and the rise of blogs.

Unpleasant surprises:The experts are startled that educational institutions have changed so little, despite widespread expectation a decade ago that schools would be quick to embrace change.


Download the PDF.

Bluesnarfing and Bluebugging Bluetooth

Connection Blues
A hole for external control of Bluetooth devices
From "Scientific American"
By Wendy M. Grossman

My mobile phone, lying on the table in front of me, flashes "Connecting" a couple of times and then falls back to blank normality. Adam Laurie looks up from his laptop and says, "Do you have a phone book entry 'marca03?' "

Yes, I do.

Laurie, a security expert, co-organizer of the annual hacker conference Defcon and head of the London-based data security company AL Digital, has just Bluesnarfed my phone. That is, he's hacked my phone's Bluetooth connection to demonstrate that he can access my information without my knowledge or consent.

Folksonomy - Taxonomy for the People

Folksonomy is a neologism (newly coined word) for a practice of collaborative categorization using simple tags in a flat namespace. This feature has begun appearing in a variety of social software. At present, the best examples of online folksonomies are social bookmarking sites like, a bookmark sharing site, and Flickr, for photo sharing. Gmail's labeling system is somewhat similar to the use of tags, but it is not a folksonomy because users cannot share their categorizations. Folksonomy is related to the concept of faceted classification from library science where a system allows the assignment of multiple classifications to an object, allowing searching and browsing of related information through several classes. Elements may include subject, geographical, temporal and form of an item.

Here are some links:

Monday, January 10, 2005

Five Colleges, Incorporated, has selected ALEPH

On January 6, Ex-Libris announced that Five Colleges, Incorporated, had selected ALEPH 500™ to replace its existing Innovative Interfaces Inc. (III) library management system. The consortium includes Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. More information is available here:

Using Bluetooth to Make Friends

Imagint this scenario:

You’ve just ordered a Grey Goose and tonic at the Purple Shamrock when your cellphone begins to chime. You pull it out of your purse, and catch a glimpse of a Johnny Depp look-alike on the display screen.
”Meet Henry,” the text reads. “He shares your interest in snowboarding and ‘Kill Bill’ movies.”
You look up and - lo and behold - there’s Henry, sipping a Ketel One and soda, just 10 feet away.

Social networking services like "Serendipity" are the latest "Killer Application", and now Bluetooth is getting in on the action.

Community Colleges Becoming a Dead End?

According to a recent study called the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, many students attend community colleges part-time, meander through their studies while holding jobs, hop from one college to another, encounter financial difficulties, and never complete even the associate’s degree. So are community colleges still gateways to universities (assuming they ever were)? Apparently not.

Here are a few other findings, as cited in USA Today:

· 45% [of community college students] are the first in their families to attend college.
· 60% work more than 20 hours a week.
· 35% of community college students say they began their studies at another college.
· 84% never participate in extracurricular activities.
· 53% want to transfer to a four-year college or university.
· 45% predict financial burdens will lead them to drop out.

So if you’re headed for a community college next fall with dreams of transitioning seamlessly into a four-year institution, best of luck. Just keep in mind you’ll be swimming upstream.

5 basic reasons people use the web....

From "Amazoning the News" by Ellen Kampinsky, Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis.

1. Share: Think back to this past Christmas season. What was number one reason people got online? According to Pew Research, it was not to buy gifts, but to send email. They wanted that emotion of warm, human connectedness.

2. Inform: People have a need to know, which is why they come to news and weather sites, for example, and why and are so highly rated. 96% of web users are seeking information, says Jakob Nielsen.

3. Create: This is the flip side of inform and this is one of the ways, obviously, the web is so different. For just one example, think about any forum, or my new favorite,, where users are creating content.

4. Entertain: The game sites certainly satisfy this goal, but so does Shockwave with its animations, so do all the goofy indie film sites, so does, where you can see the best TV ads of the week.

5. Transact: To buy and sell. Need I say more than Amazon and eBay.

We are at the beginning of a Golden Age of journalism — but it is not journalism as we have known it.

Media futurists have predicted that by 2021, "citizens will produce 50 percent of the news peer-to-peer." However, mainstream news media have yet to meaningfully adopt or experiment with these new forms.

This report details the important considerations when exploring a collaborative effort between audience and traditional media organizations.

1. Introduction to participatory journalism
2. Cultural context: Behind the explosion of participatory media
3. How participatory journalism is taking form
4. The rules of participation
5. Implications for media and journalism
6. Potential benefits of We Media
7. How media might respond

Friday, January 07, 2005

Fla Tech Seminar Blog with Sound - any training implications here?

Not a particularly attractive blog, but has the cool feature of added sound. You can play recordings of lectures and interviews right on the blog. Take a look.

RFID Technology for Libraries

For those of us still a bit confused about the implementation and implications of RFID in libraries. Here is a link to a very informative article on the ALA site. Discussed are the pros/cons, implementation methods, misconceptions, costs, etc. Rather comprehensive.

Community College Blogs

I have found a number of academic library blogs and a few community college library blogs such Springfield Technical Community College Library

Anyone know of any Florida community colleges with blogs?

Every person has a story to tell. What happens when every object does, too?

TOKYO - Ken Sakamura pulls out what looks like a handheld digital organizer and holds it next to a small bottle of single-malt whiskey.The device sounds a metallic ``ding,'' and on the little screen comes up a slickly produced video showing scenes of the distillery where the alcohol was made and aged.
Read the article.

Future Tech - RFIDs, Rapid Prototyping, etc.

Here's an amazing streaming video of science fiction writer and design professor Bruce Sterling presenting his views on the future of design and technology, revolving aorund RFIDs, rapid prototyping, and cradle-to-grave design for zero-emission disposal, from his talk at Germany's "Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen.

Well worth a look, but about 40 mins. The info on RFIDs is worth it.

Sent previously to some of you.

Cool Blog Index - Something for Everyone

Here is the most comprehensive blog listing I have seen, to date. Most have RSS feeds.

10 Ways to Use Blogs for Managing Projects

Blogs aren’t just for marketing - there are many areas of the business where they can help improve information flow, reduce clutter and avoid the dreaded “but I didn’t know about that” situation. Here’s ten ways to use blogs for managing projects - both internally and externally.

The Webmaster Series available on-line

This series was made in conjunction with four online Certificate Programs developed by University of Washington Educational Outreach. The shows consist of dynamic interviews with working professionals in the four areas of Web administration, e-commerce management, Internet programming and Web consultanting for small businesses.

Nex Gen Librarians and Careers

From "Librarian in Black"

There's been a bunch of buzz on blogs & listservs lately about the bogus nature of the claim that librarians are in short supply. Many new and existing librarians are having a hard time finding jobs. The latest issue of Info Career Trends is devoted to Next Generation Librarianship. It offers some good resources on librarianship as a career and on NextGens in general.

Videorra - a Bit Torrent RSS Reader

Slightly off topic, but not so much as you might think: via PVR Blog, I see that Videora, a BitTorrent RSS reader, has launched. Om noted it here.

So why do we care? Well, It has long been theorized that video over IP will come from the bottom up, as opposed to the top down, much as it has with blogs, and with music before that. This feels right along those lines. I very much hope that we see folks starting to make really cool video and ripping it, some rights reserved, to the web, CC style. The business models will come, let's see the good stuff now!

There's No Escaping the Blogs

I shared this article in "Fortune" with a couple of you. For those who missed it here it is again.

Blog's Power Stretches Far Beyond Politics

Until a few weeks ago, the attention paid to Weblogs, or blogs, focused on politics and the media business. Bloggers were most famously credited with unmasking a fake memo that CBS used for a story about President Bush's Army Reserve records.

But that's going to change, and fast.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Using WiFi, a PDA and the Catalog

Short, but cool narration about a clever use of the technology.

RSS Primer for Libraries

The Ontario Library and Information Technology Association has published a pretty cool and quite comprehensive what-is, why, and how-to guide to setting up an RSS feed for your library's Web site.

People of the Year: Bloggers

According to ABC News, you guys are People of the Year. Good work. "This week, their influence has become readily apparent. Dozens of bloggers have been filing firsthand reports from the areas devastated by southern Asia's deadly tsunamis."

What this is all about

Because of the incredibly rapid development of new technologies and innovations in the fields of information and library science and because my RSS feeds are funnelling literally hundreds of cool things every day, I thought I'd stop bothering you all with email and just blog it. There is an RSS feed at the bottom of the right column. Right click the link and paste into your RSS reader to be notified when blog contents are updated.

I welcome your input, criticism and ideas.