Archive for February, 2004

Digitization Facility Tour

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

I toured a local facility specializing in digitization and microfilming recently. It was interesting to learn about everything that’s involved in making images of printed material. A few of the rooms we looked at were painted completely black and fitted with special equipment and lighting for the photographing of print materials and other objects. The […]

Jay’s New Reading Habits

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

Jay is trying a different approach to his feed reading, blogging, and time management. He now reads about 200 feeds each day. He reads almost 100 of the same feeds every day and he rotates the remaining 900+ subscriptions over seven days. For someone like me who would like to read more, but doesn’t have […]

Server Sneezes and a BloggerCon II Update

Saturday, February 28th, 2004

At about the same time I posted a note on the Berkman Thursday Meetings blog about BloggerCon II, I tried to post that note on this blog. I got a 404 error message from the server and the post didn’t make it to this blog’s front page. The news item is no longer in the […]

BloggerCon II Update

Saturday, February 28th, 2004

Dave Winer has begun updating the BloggerCon blog with information about the free Saturday, April 17th conference. There’s now information about hotels, a tentative schedule, and more. Stay tuned to that blog for more information about conference activities.

Campaign for Reader Privacy

Saturday, February 28th, 2004

The Campaign for Reader Privacy is an effort by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, and the PEN American Center to collect signatures to petition Congress to reinstate safeguards for the privacy of library and bookstore records that section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ACT eliminated. A statement from the organizations gives some […]

Library Bill of Rights

Saturday, February 28th, 2004

A long time ago, someone asked me about the Library Bill of Rights, so here’s the link. It’s a set of guidelines established by the American Library Association and used by many libraries as a basis for their collections and practices.

Wikipedia and Other Similar Web Endeavors

Saturday, February 28th, 2004

I talked about Wikipedia and other wikis when I gave a presentation to a journalism class about two weeks ago. I just had an interesting conversation with someone about its pros and cons. He knew a bit about how it’s run and was able to shed some light on its editorial control, which raised my […]

“Another ‘Hysteric’ Librarian for Freedom” Button

Friday, February 27th, 2004

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom is selling these inexpensive buttons to raise awareness about the USA PATRIOT ACT’s threats to intellectual freedom. The page linked above includes some brief background about the situation and a link to more information about the act. I plan to order a button. If you’re interested in […]

Frequently Requested FOIA Material

Friday, February 27th, 2004

This brief article on LLRX.com wonders what happened to the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996, which specifies that government agencies receiving multiple FOIA requests for something that seems like it will generate more requests should place that material online.

AP Writes About RSS

Friday, February 27th, 2004

It’s almost ironic to me that the Association Press distributes this story via their wire instead of using an RSS feed, but that’s beside the point. Here’s another article about the popularity and utility of RSS feeds, including many examples of institutions and organizations using feeds to distribute information. Check out Gary Price’s nice use […]

Harvard Prof Criticizes Harvard President on Harvard Blog

Friday, February 27th, 2004

Today’s Harvard Crimson, a student newspaper, reports that Harvard Business School Associate Professor of Business Management Michael D. Watkins has criticized the Harvard president’s role in the tenure process via his blog World Events on Weekdays. The pertinent blog posts are: Watkins’ post about not getting tenure “Death Knell for the Delicate Experiment at HBS” […]

Political Hits

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

I check my referer log almost every night to get an idea of who’s coming to my blog through other Web sources. Anytime someone follows a link through a search engine, I get a line in my referer log telling me what the search was. I’ve written about attending campaign events for most of the […]

Mike Paid Me for Answering His Inquiry

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

At first, I told him I wasn’t going to take the money, but he insisted and said it was only fair. My response was worth it, he said, and he was prepared to pay money to have someone via Google Answers respond anyway. Besides, he added, I probably gave him information about questions he hadn’t […]

RSS and Taxonomies

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

This item from Burnham’s Beat discusses RSS’ limitations and its potential for failure because of information overload and the lack of ability to find relevant topics and organize feeds. As I read it, I couldn’t help recalling what people were saying in the early days of the Internet–some of which are still said today. The […]

Public Libraries and the Digital Divide

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

A new report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released Wednesday at the Public Library Association Conference shows that public libraries help narrow the digital divide by providing free access to computers and the Internet. From the announcement of the report: “Today, more than 95 percent of library buildings offer public access computing, and […]

Library Management Survey for Book

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

Several library blogs point to this survey for library workers about their managers for a forthcoming book. The questions are straightforward (what are the best and worst qualities of library managers) and the survey is very brief. There is the option to be anonymous, too. I have to think back a few years and think […]

Alaska Considers Giving Parents Access to Children’s Library Records

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

This Associate Press article via the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner gives an excellent overview of the issues surrounding whether parents should have access to their minor children’s library records. Some people argue that since parents can be held liable for lost or overdue library materials, they should have the right to know what materials their children […]

Jayson Blair Writes About His Banishment from the New York Times

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

LIS News reports that a book by Jayson Blair, the former New York Times and Boston Globe reporter who admitted plagiarizing and fabricating sources for some of his articles last year, should be published in early March. The book discusses his actions that led to him losing his job and the loss of an executive […]

Elsevier on the Implications of Open Access Journals in the UK

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Elsevier includes some interesting statistics about journal usage in the United Kingdom as well as presenting arguments against Open Access publishing in their comments about academic publishing in the UK. I linked to the executive summary above. A 15-page .pdf report is also available. Seen on the ResourceShelf (This isn’t new. I’m slowly catching up […]

Ash WednesdayT. S. Eliot

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

[Big Diversion] I Because I do not hope to turn again Because I do not hope Because I do not hope to turn Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope I no longer strive to strive towards such things (Why should the ag

Forbes: The Coming RSS Revolution

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

“… 2004, it seems, is the year the RSS feed…is going mainstream,” boasts this Forbes article about RSS. “We’ve been using NetNewsWire on an Apple Computer Macintosh for the past several weeks and have come away thinking there may be a future in this RSS thing.” The brief article mentions a few news readers and […]

RSS Article Addendum 1: How to Get Going

Monday, February 23rd, 2004

An RSS article reader thinks I didn’t give an adequate discription of what to do to subscribe to a feed. He was inspired by my article and wanted to get going with RSS, but wasn’t sure what to do to get started. In order to receive RSS feeds, there are three things you need to […]

Harvard Announces Science Libraries Merger, Four Jobs Cut

Monday, February 23rd, 2004

The Harvard Crimson reports that Kummel Library, a geology collection containing 60,000 books, 42,000 maps and 800 journals, will merge with the science library Cabot. To make space for Kummel’s collection, the Environmental Information Center (EIC) and Environmental Science and Public Policy Archive (ESPPA) currently housed in Cabot will move to Littauer Hall, closer to […]

Librarian Action Figure For Sale in Harvard Square

Saturday, February 21st, 2004

The rumors about the librarian action figure being available for sale in Harvard Square are true. The store Hidden Sweets, near the intersection of Brattle and Eliot Streets, has it along with a selection of Accoutrements action figures. The librarian costs $9.95 and comes in a slight different package than the one I received from […]

RSS Article Addendum 2: Drawbacks of RSS

Friday, February 20th, 2004

I had an offblog conversation about the drawbacks of receiving an RSS feed versus visiting a site with someone who read my RSS article. I did not address them in my article because of space limitations and what aspects of RSS I wanted to cover in the article. There are a number of things on […]

Mary Baker Eddy Library Tour

Friday, February 20th, 2004

The next program of the Speical Libraries Association Boston Chapter is a tour of the Mary Baker Eddy Library at the Christian Science complex in Boston. The archives has digitized a lot of their material. Staff will talk about the collection and digitization efforts. The Mapparium is also on the tour schedule. The program is […]

BloggerCon 2

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

Dave Winer posted a “reserve this date” notice for BloggerCon 2, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 10, 2004, and a brief description of the conference on the BloggerCon blog. Addendum 2/23: Because of the conflicts with the Passover and Easter holidays, Dave is planning to move the date of the conference. He’s looking at Saturday, […]

A Miami Herald Blogger Picked Up the Google Answers Challenge

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

Liz Donovan, a news librarian who blogs for The Miami Herald, wrote about Mike’s Google Answers challenge to me in a post about the value of librarians that highlights virtual reference services and databases available through some of Florida’s libraries. She even pointed to it from her own blog: Infomaniac: Behind the News. I saw […]

ResourceShelf Weekly E-mail in RSS

Thursday, February 19th, 2004

(By the time you look at my aggregator, it might be gone. Check back next Thursday.) As I was scrolling through my aggregator tonight, I noticed something that looked strangely familiar: the weekly ResourceShelf e-mail reminder! Yes! Another great use of RSS to distribute information. The e-mail reminder contains a sample of the excellent things […]

The Librarian Answers

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

I finally got a chance to look into Mike’s Google Answers challenge about John Edwards’ career as a personal injury attorney. Even though it took me more than a week to get to Mike’s questions, no one from Google Answers had touched it yet. I found a few good newspaper articles that gave synopses of […]

Alice Series Tops ALA’s List of Most Challenged Books in 2003

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

Harry Potter has been unseated as the most challenged book this year, ending a four-year reign of J.K. Rowling’s series. Instead, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice series takes the lead in 2003, according to the American Library Association. The press release includes the ten most challenged books of the year and some complaints associated with the […]

Contest to be a Librarian for a Day

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

Woman’s Day magazine is having a contest to be a librarian for a day. From their description, it sounds like they’re looking for public librarian wannabes: “If you’ve always wanted to field queries, read to kids during story hour and make book selections, tell us about it.” To enter, simply write an essay of no […]

Academic Libraries Versus Google

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

The Chronicle of Higher Education includes a piece from the Philadelphia University library director in its February 20 issue exploring why academic libraries are better than Google. Steven Bell uses Carnegie Mellon computer science dean James Morris’ term “infobesity” to analogize students’ search for information with a preference for consuming fast food: they often want […]

Seattle Times Highlights Special Librarians

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

The Seattle Times gives an excellent introduction to special librarianship in this article from their Sunday paper. They give a brief overview of programs offered by the Unviersity of Washington’s iSchool and include many quotes from Dan Trefethen, a librarian at Boeing, whom I’ve met through the Special Libraries Association. (Yes, he’s the Dan who’s […]

Parade Magazine Highlights Read Across America, Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004

Parade, a magazine inserted in many Sunday newspapers in America, reminds us about the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, on March 2 and Read Across America. Though the text of the article is not online, links to information about Dr. Seuss and events marking the celebration of his birth […]

ALA Grants Sandy Berman Honorary Membership

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

The American Library Association gave Sandy Berman an honorary lifetime membership, the association’s highest honor. “Sanford Berman was nominated ‘for his accomplishments as a cataloging theorist and practitioner and for his commitment to making catalog records accessible to library users. Using subject headings as a tool for social awareness, Berman has had a profound influence […]

Own Your Very Own Card Catalog!

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

The University of Washington is selling some card catalogs in a surplus sale. Even a wooden one with brass pulls is cheaper than all of the books on someone’s wishlist. Anyone want to support a librarian’s dream? I already know what I would do with it. Besides, this would give me an excuse to do […]

St. Pete Times Discusses Search Engines as Google Prepares for Its IPO

Monday, February 16th, 2004

This St. Petersburg (Florida) Times article gives a nice overview of the state of Internet search engines in light of Google’s upcoming IPO. It reminds readers that search engine technology is in constant flux; there are newcomers to the field; and Google may not be the king of the search world for very long. The […]

What the Computer Repairmen Fixed

Monday, February 16th, 2004

Since a few of you have asked for an update, here’s what’s on the invoice for repairs done to my Mac that wouldn’t boot: New PRAM battery (While I was at the repair place, one guy changed the battery and was not able to boot the machine, so a new battery alone wasn’t the solution.) […]

Enthusiasm for Macs

Monday, February 16th, 2004

Monday’s comic strip Unshelved mirrors a conversation I had with someone earlier in the day about Macs as we toured the computer portion of the Museum of Science. Luckily, my friend was polite enough not to haul me away in a straight jacket. Seeing the old computers brought back fond memories. What ever happened to […]

Landmark Day for Referers

Sunday, February 15th, 2004

Saturday was a landmark day for referers. Not only did I get my first hit from My Yahoo!’s new aggregator, but I also received over 100 hits from Scripting News (132 as of 11:44 pm). Some people get flooded when Dave Winer points to them. He’s pointed to me twice recently: for my recent RSS […]

The Importance of a Good Courier Service

Friday, February 13th, 2004

Off the topic a little bit, but still of note: FedEx failed to pick up 30 applications from the University of California at Berkeley for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program in time for the award deadline last fall. Even though FedEx took responsibility for the mishap, the U.S. Department of Education refused to […]

Gods and Goddesses of Librarianship

Friday, February 13th, 2004

There’s a thought in librarianship that Fridays bring strange questions. One of the questions a colleague handled today was: what Greek or Roman god or goddess would represent librarians or libraries. The first response, of course, was Aphrodite. Other suggestions, though not necessarily Greek or Roman, were: Thoth, the Egyptian deity of scribes and knowledge, […]

My RSS Article Is Now Available (.pdf)

Thursday, February 12th, 2004

The Winter 2004 issue of News Library News (pdf) with the feature article I wrote about RSS is now online. Not only does it include comments from two well-known bloggers, but it also has sidebars about aggregators (including what to consider when choosing an aggregator), how to find RSS feeds, third-party services that make feeds […]

Nice Praise for Some Colleagues

Thursday, February 12th, 2004

Today, I helped credential media arriving on campus for an event. When I meet people who work at organizations some of my news library colleagues work at, I often ask if they know the librarians. It would be inappropriate for me to name names, so I can’t, but when I asked a reporter if he […]

That Journalism Presentation

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Tonight’s class was possibly the best class I’ve guest lectured at. I knew it was going to be different when one of the students asked if we could get a pizza. I told him to ask the guest speaker, not the instructor, and I’d say yes. Then, they wouldn’t have to listen to me for […]

Unsubscribe Request as an RSS Feed

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

There’s a bizarre thing happening in my aggregator that began over the weekend. I keep getting feeds with no title attribute asking me to unsubscribe from that feed. The subscription list uses the title attribute to list the feeds, so any feed missing the title tag isn’t on the list, which means I can’t unsubscribe […]

The Value of an Encyclopedia on CD-ROM

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Garrett responded to something Dave Winer wrote that came out of a recent conversation he had: “Who needs an encyclopedia on a CD-ROM when you have the Web at your fingertips?” Three reasons pop into my mind about why an encyclopedia on CD-ROM might be better than the Internet: disappearing information on the Internet, misinformation […]

Universities Using RSS Feeds in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

This coming Friday’s Chronicle of Higher Education includes an article about how some college and university campuses are using RSS. Though the article presents a great discussion of how campuses are using RSS, the author’s explanation of RSS is a little confusing and not completely accurate. “The technology allows users to receive information, similar to […]

E-mail Problems

Monday, February 9th, 2004

(totally off the topic) I discovered over the weekend that one of my e-mail accounts is not delivering e-mail properly and is not bouncing messages back to the sender. I’m not exactly sure what is happening. I think it has something to do with it being a hectic week, my computer coming back to me, […]

Yes, I Answer.

Monday, February 9th, 2004

Jay typed: I don’t think she understands what I meant, however. I wasn’t saying that Google Answers could be gateway drug to get people hooked on librarians. I was saying that Google Answers is a good prototype of a better way of interacting with librarians, one that could be co-opted by librarians or recreated by […]

Journal of Algorithms Board Resigns Citing Elsevier, Begins New Journal

Monday, February 9th, 2004

The Board of Directors of the Journal of Algorithms, a publication popular among mathematicians and computer scientists, announced its resignation and intention to focus on a new journal, Transactions on Algorithms, because of their frustration that Elsevier makes the publication too expensive for many college libraries to afford. According to the subscriber-restricted Chronicle of Higher […]

The Simpsons’ Public Library Removes the Books

Sunday, February 8th, 2004

Tonight’s episode of the cartoon The Simpsons began with a trip to the library. The characters quickly discover the library has removed all of the print materials in favor of multimedia items. The old lady with pulled-up gray hair and glasses behind a counter makes some remarks about it being a good thing. Lisa, always […]

Institutional Memory and News Librarianship

Sunday, February 8th, 2004

A few months ago, a professional colleague asked me to read a paper he wrote about his role as an information specialist within a news organiztion. In it, he mentions keeping “institutional memory” casually as a task of news librarians. I’ve been pondering this task ever since. I do a poor job of recording institutional […]

Mike’s Google Answers Challenge

Sunday, February 8th, 2004

This is a lovely challenge. Mike’s question about John Edwards’ career as a malpractice attorney and whether he really did win most of his cases by linking cerebral palsy to doctors’ errors in the delivery room is deceptively simple. It might be easy to locate materials about this on the Internet, but as Mike points […]

Expanding Google Answers Isn’t the Answer

Sunday, February 8th, 2004

Jay writes in response to two of my recent posts: It seems to me that the best way to promote librarians is to work with Google and expand the Google Answers program. Many people don’t know about Google Answers and the services seems ill defined. But a good start. Promoting Google Answers isn’t a good […]

Gary Price on What We Can Learn from Google

Thursday, February 5th, 2004

After reading my thoughts about the New York Times piece about Internet search engines and librarians, Gary sent me a link to his November-December piece in Searcher magazine that also explores the intersection of search engines and librarianship. It would not surprise me to learn that the NYT journalist read this as prepwork for his […]

Librarians versus Internet Search Engines

Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Today’s New York Times’ column Circuits explores the differences between using a search engine and a librarian to find information and how librarians can position themselves to convince their users that they are better than a search engine. The first anecdote is a good reminder: sometimes it is indeed quicker to use a print source, […]

More About Harvard’s Elsevier Cancellations

Thursday, February 5th, 2004

This week’s Harvard University Gazette includes an article about Harvard’s decision to eliminate many subscriptions to Elsevier journals and put more effort into developing alternative publishing methods. The article includes quotes from several professors, including one who works with the Public Library of Science, about how many current scholarly publishing practices hurt and hinder scholarly […]

Why Hire Someone with a Master’s Degree in Library and/or Information Science?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

A few days ago, I posted an inquiry from a colleague of mine looking for fodder to convince the mayor of Jacksonville that hiring degreed librarians is better than hiring “smart college grads.” Here are some of my thoughts about why a librarian/information professional who attended library/information science school is better than just a “smart […]

The Campaign for 100,000 Hits

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Okay, I admit this is childish, but sometimes I just have to have some fun in my life. I don’t know how this happened. I’m sure it has something to do with the number of times the Clarkbot has hit me (look: here it comes again), but I’ve been at number 15 in the Harvard […]

Computer Repairs

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

A convenient severe headache today convinced me to take time off work so I could deal with my computer that won’t boot. After a nice nap and some, uh, reading and food, I took my computer to a place several people recommended. Someone described it as a hole in the wall and he was right. […]

The Media’s Role in Discovering the Truth Behind the Iraq War

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

The second half of today’s radio show “The Connection” will explore the media’s role in discovering the truth about President Bush’s reasons for war. It sounds like the show will ask whether the media had a responsibility to better investigate Bush’s reasons for the invasion instead of just accepting his case for war. WBUR will […]

Gary Price: Not Just for Librarians Anymore

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

I couldn’t help chuckling when I saw this post from sj, who recently discovered Gary Price’s ResourceShelf. It just confirms what librarians have known for a while: Gary is totally awesome and creates very valuable resources.

Handing Out Business Cards

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Jay pointed to this entry from The Yeti a while back. Let me just say that I don’t I give out my business cards hoping to get a date, especially if that someone has a significant other. Networking is a very big part of my profession. That’s why I distribute my cards. But now I’m […]

Why Should Employers Hire Degreed Librarians?

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Rumor has it that the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, wants to save money by hiring non-degreed librarians. A colleague of mine is meeting with him about this on Thursday and wants some ammo to use in that meeting. She e-mailed a discussion list asking for hard information showing why degreed librarians are better than what […]

“When it comes to intellectual attractiveness, librarians are supermodels.”

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Steve writes about why he appreciates librarians and the similarities between techies and librarians. His words are too good for me to just let them linger in a TrackBack link. Some key excerpts: “I have a feeling that one of the main reasons computer techies appreciate librarians is because they both understand exactly how challenging […]

“Comment on Your Own Blog” in Action

Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Shimon blogged about walking on frozen Spy Pond on Sunday. I was out on Ponkapoag Pond in the Blue Hills, so I wanted to comment on his post. In order to comment on a blog post, Frassle requires you to set up an account. I didn’t think too much about it because of all the […]

Respect Copyrights

Sunday, February 1st, 2004

Members of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) created this Web site to educate people about the negative effects of illegally downloading movies and violating copyright law. It includes an introduction to copyright law, reasons why illegal downloading is bad, and the primer “What’s the Diff? A Guide to Digital Citizenship for Volunteers […]