Monday, February 28, 2005

How Dr. Papadakis runs a Drexel University like a company

This article appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
How Dr. Papadakis runs a Drexel University like a company
Thursday, February 24, 2005
By Bernard Wysocki Jr., The Wall Street Journal

PHILADELPHIA -- At a Drexel University campus forum last May, professors complained about funding cuts at the library. Rather than apologize for the belt-tightening, President Constantine Papadakis told them he'd prefer to have an all-digital library with no books at all.

Some faculty members and students were horrified. An architecture professor said printed books were essential to his field. Another professor compared the Drexel library to that of a community college. 'It boggles the mind that someone like a university president could envision a library without books,' wrote the student newspaper, the Triangle, in an editorial.

In an interview, Dr. Papadakis says he was exaggerating to make a point: Spending too heavily on books, periodicals and the buildings that house them is a waste in the digital era. The spat was nothing new for the 59-year-old Greek immigrant, who revels in making comments designed to shock the status quo as he introduces hard-nosed business practices to one of America's centers of learning.

Dozens of old computer ads

Originally uploaded by dwbooker.
For those of us old enough to remember, these are truly a walk down memory lane.

For those of you attending the Computers in Libraries conference

You may want to check out the 6 tips for enjoying the conference - a favorite, "Six Feet Under, a couple of hilarious hours with some presenters discussing dead and emerging technologies moderated by Mr. D. Scott Brandt.

Read more about it here

Yahoo! posts a list of RSS feeds

Yahoo! Directory RSS Feeds - The feeds are free of charge to individuals and nonprofit organizations for non-commercial use. Attribution (included in each feed) is required.

Friday, February 25, 2005

ALA Prez on Blogs

In a Library Journal piece, Michael Gorman said in part, "Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts. It is entirely possible that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs." This has generated a lot of talk on the LITA listserv and on various blogs like Free Range Librarian and Slashdot. Now Gorman says his piece was satirical. Perhaps it was, but the fallout isn't exactly good publicity for librarians -or bloggers.

Population 1. Plus 5,000 Volumes.

Originally uploaded by dwbooker.
Weeds twine around the disintegrating remnants of the water tower and sprout in a tangle through the floorboards of the grandest house in town. The Methodist church, gray with rot, slumps toward the frozen ground. An empty mailbox flaps open on a gravel rut that was once a road.

The people of Monowi have died or moved - all but one: Elsie Eiler. Brisk and unsentimental at 71, she lives in the one home still fit for living in, a snug trailer with worn white siding. She runs the one business left in Monowi, a dark, wood-paneled tavern, thick with smoke.

She also runs the library.

Miniature Storage Device contains a Complete Medical Record including X-rays and Lab results.

Originally uploaded by dwbooker.
A new product offers relief from the burdens of dealing with medical records and the hassles associated with them. Patient Practitioners, a company out of Chipley, Florida has developed a medical record system that allows for your complete medical history to be contained on a device the size of an average keychain.

Link to Article

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Net Generation Students and Libraries

From Joan Lippincott of CNI:

What are some of the major disconnects between many of today's academic libraries and Net Gen students? The most common one is students' dependence on Google or similar search engines for discovery of information resources rather than consultation of library Web pages, catalogs, and databases as the main source of access. Since students often find library-sponsored resources difficult to figure out on their own, and they are seldom exposed to or interested in formal instruction in information literacy, they prefer to use the simplistic but responsive Google. Another disconnect is that digital library resources often reside outside the environment that is frequently the digital home of students' coursework, namely, the course management system, or CMS. Library services are often presented in the library organization context rather than in a user-centered mode. Libraries emphasize access to information but generally do not have facilities, software, or support for student creation of new information products. All of these disconnects can be remedied if appropriate attention is paid to the style of Net Gen students.

Full article HERE

Libraries using INN-Reach are high-performers in new ARL ILL/DD study

Interesting study on mediated and user-initiated interlibrary loan and document delivery services.

Read more about it here

Associated Press offers direct RSS feeds

I just snagged this from via Susan Mernit's Blog
The Associated Press has quietly added RSS feeds to their corporate site. This is the first time AP stories are available directly on the web in RSS (as opposed to running through Yahoo News.) The seventeen feeds include Top News, US, World, Business, Sports, and Technology--and are headlines/digest feeds available for non-commercial use. Right now the feeds go to generic AP story pages. According to VP/Director of Strategic Planning Jim Kennedy, in time they plan to implement geotargeting to direct clickthrus to local/regional members who use the Custom News service.
Some terms worth noting in the language of the redistribution rights:

  • You agree to provide proper attribution to The Associated Press in reasonable proximity to your use of the RSS feed(s), and you agree that you will not modify the format or branding of the headlines, digests and other information provided in the RSS feeds.
  • The RSS feeds may not be spliced into or otherwise redistributed by third-party RSS providers.
  • No content, including any advertisements or other promotional content, shall be added to the RSS feeds.

AP has been hard at work studying the next generation of digital and social media--this is the first tangible product of those efforts.

(Disclosure: I have consulted for the AP.)

Update: Some folks are wondering, like Jeff, if AP is planning to link their stories through news partners--the answer is yes.

Libraries Doing Cool Things with iPods

An interesting post about libraries doing cool things with iPods available is here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ex Libris announces senior management changes

Library Technology Guides: Library Technology Guides: Display Article: "Ex Libris announced strategic changes to its senior management team. Oren Beit-Arie has assumed a new role as chief strategy officer. Jenny Walker extends her marketing responsibilities from ISD products to all Ex Libris products, and, as VP marketing, will be responsible for all corporate marketing activities, including product management. Susan Stearns, director of operations for ISD, has been promoted to VP customer services. In this role, she will manage the North American implementation, training, and support teams for all Ex Libris products."

Powell's Books has RSS feeds

Powell's Books - long a source of rare, out of print, used and new books - has added 7 RSS feeds to its website.

Click Here to Choose Feeds

Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Orders its Own Spare Parts

Originally uploaded by dwbooker.
Link to Article

James Dyson has invented an intelligent vacuum cleaner that can order its own spare parts. The gizmo alerts the user if it has broken down or needs a replacement part. The owner then dials the number of the Dyson call centre and holds the telephone receiver to the vacuum cleaner. The machine transmits a message telling engineers what is wrong and orders any new part it needs. Its computer chip even lets them know WHEN it was bought and for how LONG it has been in use.

The cleaner is already in the shops in Japan and British genius Dyson says it will be on sale in the UK soon.

Public library lends out book-filled iPod Shuffles


We know that small-town libraries have shed their image as fusty repositories of moldering encyclopedias and are now high-tech temples of e-learning, but we were still impressed to find out that at least one library has come up with a novel way to get teens into libraries: put audiobooks onto iPod Shuffles. We have it on good word that the South Huntington Public Library in Suffolk County, New York, is doing just that. They apparently have a handful of Shuffles, pre-loaded with books, and are planning to add more. Given the ongoing Shuffle shortage (even Apple’s online store has a two-week delay on shipping them), we’re surprised that the library has any at all to share; let’s hope for their sake that borrowers don’t “forget” to return them.

Good Hunter S. Thompson Obituary

Originally uploaded by dwbooker.
Fear & Loathing in the Afterlife

Good article on changes in academic research


(NOTE: link downloads PDF)

Given the publication lag the authors have slightly updated the paper: Metadata Switch: Thinking About Some Metadata Management and Knowledge Organization Issues in the Changing Research and Learning Landscape. Forthcoming in LITA Guide to E-Scholarship [working title], ed. Debra Shapiro. February 2005 preprint (PDF:824K/25pp.).

The academic library is not an end in itself. It supports research, learning and scholarship, and it must adapt as research and learning behaviors change in a network environment. This paper briefly considers some of these issues, and takes them as its context, but quickly moves to a very specific emphasis. It considers how such library responses create new metadata management and knowledge organization questions, and it then outlines some of the work in OCLC Research which responds to these issues.
This paper presents a matrix based on stewardship and uniqueness for considering the materials in our collections.

Google Toolbar Not So Popular

From Scripting News - Google and content modification. After a few days reading comments both pro and con, trying out the software, thinking, I put together this document which explains why authors and publishers should tell Google to back down. Their toolbar takes a step down a treacherous slope, that changes the way the Web works as to make commerce, journalism and scholarship impossible. It will render agreements entered to on the web null and void. It invites Microsoft, with it's virtual monopoly in browser, to do the same, to the detriment of the market, and even Google itself.

Read the document here

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

RSS Feed for Academic Blogs

Just paste this URL into your reader:

Add "RedLightGreen" to your Firefox Search Menu

Open this page. Install the plugin and restart your Firefox browser. What? You aren't using Firefox! What a maroon!

Best explaination yet of "Folksonomy"

Originally uploaded by dwbooker.
From a high level we see a person creates the object (content) and makes it accessible to others. Other people (groups of people with the same vocabulary represented people blobs and noted with alphabet letters) tag the object (lines with arrows pointing away from the people) with their own terms (represented by numbers). The people also find the information (arrows on lines pointing from the numeric tags back to the people blobs) based on the tags.

Digging a little deeper we see quite a few people (8 people) in group "A" and they have tagged the object with a "1" and a "2" and they use this term to find the object again. Group "B" (2 people) have applied tag "1" and "2" to the object and they use tag terms "1", "2", and "3" to find the information. Group "C" (3 people) have tagged the object with "2" and "3" so that they can find the object. Group "D" has also tagged the object with tag "3" so that they may refind the information this group may have benefitted from the tagging that group "C" provided to help them find the information in the first place. Group "E" (2 people) uses a different term, "4", to tag the object than others before it and uses only this term to find the object. Lastly, group "F" (1 person) uses tag "5" on the object so that they may find it.

How to Sell Your Book, CD, or DVD on Amazon

In a nutshell:

Here is how to get your book, CD, or DVD listed on the long tail of Amazon:
1 Get an ISBN (for a book), or a UPC (for a CD or DVD). For one book it costs $125, for one CD, $55, for one DVD, $89.
2 Get a bar code based on the ISBN or UPC. Costs $10, or may be included in UPC.
3 Sign up with Amazon, $30 per year.
4 Duplicate your stuff; include the bar code on the outside.
5 Ship two copies to Amazon
6 Send cover scan
7 Track sales

Complete article Here

Monday, February 21, 2005


In a unique partnership with, Talis, the market leading IT solutions company for local government, has teamed up with the leading online retailer to offer libraries a way of recycling stock that is no longer needed by the library.

Talis has built software that links regional libraries’ systems to’s Marketplace platform allowing them to sell their unwanted stock on the website instead of simply disposing of it. The revenue made will contribute to the purchase of new titles for the local community.’s customers will also benefit from the increased selection of titles and prices that the libraries can offer.’s Marketplace is a unique feature that allows customers to buy and sell new, used and collectable items on the same page as sells the item new. This side-by-side placement dramatically expands the selection available to customers.

Yahoo! News - Google "library" sparks French warcry

Yahoo! News - Google "library" sparks French warcry "PARIS (Reuters) - France's national library has raised a 'warcry' over plans by Google to put books from some of the world's great libraries on the Internet and wants to ensure the project does not lead a domination of American ideas.

Jean-Noel Jeanneney, who heads France's national library and is a noted historian, says Google's choice of works is likely to favour Anglo-Saxon ideas and the English language.

He wants the European Union to balance this with its own programme and its own Internet search engines."

Friday, February 18, 2005

Random House to enter phone text market

AP Wire | 02/18/2005 | Random House to enter phone text market: "Over the past couple of years, the cell phone has emerged as a sound system, a video game player and a TV screen. Now, it could become the latest outlet for books.

Random House, the country's leading trade book publisher, announced Thursday that it had purchased a 'significant minority stake' in VOCEL, a San Diego-based company that describes itself as a provider of 'premium-branded applications for mobile phones.'"

According the the article Oxford University Press and Simon & Schuster are also investigating delivering ebook content to cell phones.

Google Gmail launch edges closer

The company has invited the people who registered an interest in Gmail, which is still under development, to open a free e-mail account.

Read more about it here

Google Scholar and academic affiliation

Google Scholar now allows users to indicate an academic affiliation. Check it out here. The list is rather short and this has not been officially announced (yet).

Thursday, February 17, 2005

How many blogs were there in 1997?

David Berlind asks if the ramp-up for podcasting is faster than the early growth of blogs.

I answered yes, definitely, in 1997, the first year of blogging, there were at most 4 or 5 blogs.

Pete Prodehl sent an email asking if this is really true. He reminded me of jjg's list of early blogs, which certainly is a good starting point, but he asks how many were around in 1997? He lists Scripting News, Camworld, Robot Wisdom, Rasterweb (Pete's site). Did Tomalak's Realm start in 1997?

Anyway, if you know of a blog that was around in 1997, please post a comment here.

# Posted by Dave Winer on 2/17/05; 12:04:37 PM - Comments [8] -- Trackback [2]

#Posted by Dave Winer on 2/17/05; 12:04:37 PM - Comments [8] -- Trackback [2]

Amazon's 43 Secrets

Article about Amazon secretly funding a "start up," 43 Things,which specifically asks users to share personal information. This is at, so if you're not a subscriber you may need to view a brief commercial before it'll let you see the full text. "Why does the Web's biggest retailer want you to confide your hopes, dreams and aspirations to a Web site called 43 Things? It's not telling."

Educause Blogs!

Educause has launched a series of blogs for its members. Here is an introductory blurb:

Do you have a keen interest in emerging technologies and a spirit of adventure? Then play an active part in the EDUCAUSE Community Blog Service, a pilot project to give association members a hands-on opportunity to explore the use of blogs and to create a new, vibrant medium for professional information sharing.

And here are the blogs I think are interesting:
    Digital Reference Services
    Blogging in Higher Education
    Electronic Books
    Libraries and Technology

Wiki Listing Many Newspapers with RSS

Click HERE

Owning Content

At Outsell Now, in an article titled "Thinking Out Loud About the Ownership Society," they say: We've concluded that all parts of the content industry are lined up along a "rent vs. buy" spectrum, but that the concept of owning content is slowly losing ground to other models of access.

Are they right, will ownership of materials change to a rent materials? They say music will continued to be owned because of the psychic values of ownership. They don't see books and journals the same way.

The Chronicle: 2/18/2005: The Reality of Open-Access Journal Articles

The Chronicle: 2/18/2005: The Reality of Open-Access Journal Articles:
Although reasonable people can undoubtedly disagree about aspects of open-access publishing -- generally speaking, making journal articles available online at no charge -- one point is beyond dispute: The concept is no longer merely a theoretical possibility. It is time to move beyond rehashing tired arguments about whether open access poses a threat to publishers, professional societies, or research budgets. We should begin to discuss how best to use what open access gives us: the unfettered availability of scholarly literature.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Centered Librarian

The Centered Librarian

And what about the future of Librarians? Bangor University is proposing to sack eight of its 12 librarians because students can find the information they need on the internet.

Tick, Tock (Google and the Future of Libraries)

In Tick, Tock in Information Today, Barbara Quint writes about Google Scholar:
Estimates run that it will take Google from 6-10 years to complete its program. No one can say for sure, but at the end of the process, Google will have a content collection that will enable it to offer unmatched depth to all the people now budgeting for brick-and-mortar libraries. Of course, you'll hear the usual bleatings — "But people don't like reading electronic books. It hurts their eyes," "The library is more than books; it's a meeting place; it's an experience," "Some libraries may be hurt, but not mine. We're different." And then there's the prayer for deliverance, the hope that someone out there will stop the ax from falling. The most probable candidate for the role of knight-errant would seem to be the book publishers whose copyright Google is — at first glance — ignoring as it sweeps through multi-million book collections, swallowing the in-print, out-of-print, in-copyright, out-of-copyright. But it looks as if publishers are just going to stand still and take it.

Even if Google fails to pull off all it has promised, the world has seen the new possibilities. If Google does not finish the task in this decade, it will in the next. Even if Google abandons the project, someone else will pick it up. Newspapers and trade magazines all over the country have picked up the story, and most have recognized and discussed the threat it poses to traditional libraries. The coverage of the story has become a phenomenon of its own, creating another instance of the "revolution of rising expectations." At this point, it's only a matter of time.

We must recognize that the weight of the future may collapse the structures of the past, that the systems we have relied upon to filter and measure and archive and distribute quality information may dissolve and leave us floating in a sea of disparate data. But the same dangerous future also will provide the tools to build new and better systems, tools open to new players — like us. We information professionals, we librarians, we searchers can become the new publishers, the new aggregators, the new library-to-library-to-the-world vendors. Above all, we must recognize that new tasks abound and, now that we are freed from shelf patrol duties, we're the ones to do them..

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Talis RSS Trial

As part of Project Bluebird, a limited scope trial has been launched in partnership with Northumbria University. The objectives of the trial are to investigate practicality of providing personalised RSS feeds for Library System ‘MyAccount' information and to identify any issues arising. The trial is to run from January to Easter 2005, with a limited number of subscribers. A white paper Download PDF has been published describing the technologies and the operation of the trial.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Answers not links

Yes, Google's fast, but then there's the choosing, the clicking, etc., etc. Try for a different experience! So fast too!

Teaching Students to Swim in the Online Sea

Interesting from the NYT (LINK)

If you need to register, use:

name: dwbooker
pword: booker

Up to now, librarians have taken the lead in developing information literacy standards and curriculums. There's a certain paradox in that, because a lot of people assumed that the digital age would require neither libraries nor librarians. But today, students have only limited contact with librarians, particularly because they do most of their online information-seeking at home or in the dorm.

The trouble with OPACs

Here's a LINK to an excellent article by Andrew Pace in the Feb. American Libraries about why OPACs 'work' the way they do.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Google blogger fired


Here are a couple of articles from cnet:

Google blogger has left the building

Mark Jen, a blogger whose candid comments about life on the job at Google sparked controversy last month, has left the company.

Google blogger: 'I was terminated'
Mark Jen was fired for blogging, the ex-Googler confirmed in a Web posting on Thursday.

And an account from the Google blogger himself.


A California elementary school tags students with RFID badges to test the technology for a local company. Parents and students are not happy. By Kim Zetter. The entire article can be read here

Serials Solutions releases Article Linker Version 3.0

Press Release: Serials Solutions, February 10, 2005

Serials Solutions, the leading provider of e-journal access and management services announced that Article Linker Version 3.0 is now available. Based on the product's original platform -- a full-featured, OpenURL link resolver -- the new version of Article Linker adds a significant list of new features and functionality.

Some of the new enhancements include:

  • Addition of over 100 new sources and targets
  • Industry-leading results page customizations
  • Custom database ordering
  • 1-Click to Article with optional patron "help windows"
  • Circular link prevention
  • De-duplication of resolved links
  • Local holdings included within results set links
  • Unlimited custom links
  • Real-time linking with PubMed
  • Sophisticated management and reporting tools including:
    • Overlap Analysis
    • Usage Statistics

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Voice of Youth Advocates

You guys may know about this, but I didn't.

VOYA is a bimonthly journal addressing librarians, educators, and other professionals who work with young adults. The only magazine devoted exclusively to the informational needs of teenagers, it was founded in 1978 by librarians and renowned intellectual freedom advocates Dorothy M. Broderick and Mary K. Chelton "to identify the social myths that keep us from serving young people and replace them with knowledge." Broderick retired in early 1997, when Cathi Dunn MacRae became editor after twenty years as a young adult librarian in public libraries.

VOYA bases its policy on these three principles:

  • Specialized YA library services: Young adults aged 12-18 deserve their own targeted library services, collections, and attention to the same extent as populations of other ages.

  • Intellectual freedom and equal access: Young adults have rights to free and equal access to information in print, nonprint, and electronic resources, without infringement of their intellectual freedom due to age or other restrictions.

  • Youth advocacy and youth participation: Youth-serving professionals must advocate for the above rights and services for youth within their libraries, schools, and communities, while providing opportunities for youth to practice decision-making and responsibility in running their own projects.
Over 80 page views yesterday!


Article in BBC News - Consumers are very concerned about the use of radio frequency ID (RFID) tags in shops, a survey shows.

Read more about it here

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Interesting article on creating websites for teens.

When teenagers surf the web, they often have different goals than adults do. But some interesting features draw them in: big type, lots of pictures and a reasonable dose of respect. By Daniel Terdiman

Read more about it here

Richard's presentation mentioned again

Alane at "It's All Good" says:
On Sunday night (Feb 6), as Alice has posted, Richard Madeus spoke to Members Council delegates about gizmos, and storage (this presentation will be available on the OCLC web site). He noted that portable computing will allow us to carry massive amounts of content around with us--as we've told you here, Thom Hickey of OCLC Research loaded all the WorldCat records on a 40G iPod and had space left over. Not the indexes or a search interface--just the records. Now, why any of us might want to carry Worldcat in our pockets escapes me just yet--although perhaps the very romance of carrying a goodly amount of documentary heritage in your pocket might be reason enough.

I can imagine that one reason I don't know why it would be All Good to have more bib records in my pocket than any library on the planet has is...because I am not under 30. In fact, amazingly (to me) I turn 50 in 2006. As I don't have children, I can only survey the real digital divide from afar but I am pretty sure that John "Got Game" Beck and others are correct...that the "digital natives" (as Richard Madeus called them) are fundamentally different from we (older) "digital immigrants", even those of us who are gizmo-savvy.

Google Maps

Amazing! Give it a for "Tallahassee," then search for "bookstore" (or something else, of course) Link


What is podcasting? Checkout this 4 minute movie for a quick overview.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Richard's Presentation Mentioned on OCLC Blog

And then we had a delightful keynote speaker--Dr. J. Richard Madaus of the College Center for Library Automation in Florida.

Dr. Madaus's presentation was on the future direction of technology in libraries: the "hurrieder" we go, the "behinder" we get.

He talked about technology trends and gave us a few recommendations and laughs along the way:
1. Realize the "gizmos" (technology) will change every year
2. Realize it's not about the technology--it's about the PEOPLE
3. Time to move beyond site-bound (physical collections as inventory) librarianship

Amd we had some "whoah" moments--like when he showed us the Ngage (Nokia) phone, or the 80 gig iPod.

Link to Blog

Why this "Internet thing" is just starting

From Seth Godin's Blog
Why this "Internet thing" is just starting
Yes, it's only been ten years.

And despite our memories of the crash of 2000, here are ten reasons why I believe that there's about to be a significant flourishing of Net companies and business successes, not to mention extremely cool things for the rest of us:*

1. Penetration. There are 50 times as many people using the Net as there were then. 50x is a multiple you don't see every day.

2. Bandwidth. It's easy to forget how horrible modem surfing was. The prevalence of high bandwidth connectivity means that surfing is far more natural, more frequent and that the experience is better as well.

3. Tools. You can launch most any online service with almost no custom programming. demonstrated to me how straightforward this has become. It also means that finding the world's greatest programmer is no longer a critical component for most services.

4. Servers. When google can offer a gig of storage for free, it's proof that server space is essentially free. You may recall that just three years ago, a one gig hard drive cost $3000.

5. Wifi. The next generation of wifi will be faster, but more important, have a vastly improved range. Which means, for example, that all of downtown Philadelphia will offer free wifi. With ubiquity will come cheap machines that dramatically increase the number of surfers, and put those surfers most everywhere.

6. Multimedia. The web is still stuck in ASCII world, but not for long. Add a few million video cameras, fifty million cell phone cameras, every song ever recorded, every TV show and movie ever made and the contents of most any scholarly book and it gets interesting fast. Sure, the lunkheads at the RIAA and MPAA will make up lies to try to stop it, but the cosmic jukebox meets the realtime surveillance camera is going to happen.

7. Grandmothers. It is no longer necessary to explain to the average American (of any generation) what this "Internet thing" is. Google has made the world safe for entrepreneurs. Don't underestimate how important this is.

8. Teenagers. The Yahoo generation is now getting driver's licenses!! These are kids who have grown up without encyclopedias or videocassettes or vinyl. These are kids who have completely and permanently integrated the Net into their lives and are about to go to work and to college.

9. Venture Capital has more than a hundred million dollars to invest in great Net companies. So do a dozen or more other (less talented) venture capitalists. Given that it takes far less money today (see #10 and #3) than ever, this means the search for money is not the challenge.

10. The death of TV. (It wouldn't be a Seth Godin post if I didn't mention the death of TV, would it?) You know what killed the first crop of stupid $100 million Internet consumer service startups? Advertising. They all believed that they need to spend millions to build a brand. Today, we've got proof--every single (no exceptions!) Internet success is a success because of Unleashing the ideavirus. It's not TV ads. It's word of mouse.

VIEWS releases Metasearch white paper

VIEWS (Vendor Initiative for Enabling Web Services) is an initiative by vendors and library service organizations launched in June 2004 aimed at the enabling of web services between disparate applications used in libraries. The group that has agreed to cooperate in the initiative includes: Dynix, Fretwell Downing, Index Data, Muse Global, OCLC, Endeavor, Talis, and VTLS. NISO has been invited to monitor this work and keep the NISO membership informed of developments and emerging opportunities for formal standardization activities.

From a February 4 press release:
The Vendor Initiative for Enabling Web Services (VIEWS) has taken an important step toward enhancing interoperability between library resources by releasing a white paper describing the potential for Web Services in the metasearch arena. The paper is the work of the VIEWS Metasearch Committee and serves as a scoping document for the VIEWS membership to use in deciding which Web Services should be developed.

Topics addressed in the paper include Web Services definitions for metasearch, authentication and authorization issues, resource discovery, search/retrieve and statistics and Web Services. The paper also includes a summary of findings and recommendations. Metasearch is the process that makes it possible for the end user to enter a search once and to get results back in a single list from any number of different types of information sources.
Here is a link to the white paper.

Friday, February 04, 2005

User Interface Engineering

User Interface Engineering is a leading research, training, and consulting firm specializing in web site and product usability. They provide many fee-based services such as conferences, usability training, and publications. A list of free articles is available here . Interesting titles include:
    Six Steps to Ensure a Successful Usability Test
    What Makes a Design Seem 'Intuitive'?
    5 Things to Know About Users
    Users Don't Learn To Search Better
User Interface Engineering also sponsors a three day Know Your Users seminar, which covers techniques for understanding user needs (including field studies, personas, and usability testing).

Are Listservs Dead?

From Library
Rushton Brandis notfied me via e-mail today that he has published an article on WebJunction about weblogs and RSS. I'm quoted:

"Will becoming a blog reader via Really Simple Syndication (RSS) help deal with listserv e-mail? Yes, if Steven Cohen of Library Stuff is right. Speaking at the 2004 Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, California, he stated that 'listservs are dead'.

Yes, I did say that and yes I do believe that. I say it whenever I get a chance and there is always a gasp in the room when I do, as if I just said something dirty. Listservs, I believe, are all about noise. The one good thing that came from me leaving the law library world was getting off of those awful e-mail discussion boards that cluttered my inbox. The one place where I think that listervs MAY serve a purpose is within a small knit community, like a county or citywide system. Something small. That said, weblogs and/or wikis could be a fine replacement for any electronic discussion.

I think we need to move away from the brainwash that is e-mail and start moving towards more online community-based discussions. Heck, even forums work better than listservs.

I don't want my daughter to ever have an e-mail address.

Library Blogs

Are libraries blogging? You better belive it! At you can see a blog about library blogs.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Won't you be my neighbor?

Visualize A Weblogs "Neighborhood"

Findory, the "personalized" news and weblog tool hass introduced a new service today.
It's now possible to "visualize" a blogs "neighborhood." In other words, you can see how "connected" or "related" a specific blog is to others.

Fifty Writing Tools

A massive, excellent writing resource, authored over the space of a year by journalist Roy Peter Clark. Link

Don't dial that cell phone, jiggle it!

Now - we're talking!!!!

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Tired of pushing all those buttons on your cell phone? Some Japanese handsets slated to hit stores next month are designed to solve that problem: They respond to shakes, tilts and jiggles.

Read more at:


You'll have to go to Academic Search Premier and pull up the article, but it'll be worth it. I promise. The accession number is 15531050 and that'll take you straight to the article, The Future of Books by Jason Epstein, "who has been around the publishing block (retired Random House editorial director and founder of Anchor Books, New York Review of Books, Library of America, and Readers' Catalog). He provides historical background and describes new frontiers in print-on-demand publishing and what it could do for the industry. Can you imagine a machine like an ATM (8 feet long and 4 feet tall) that can print a 256-page book from a digital file, trim it and finish it with a four-color cover, without operator intervention, in two minutes? It already exists, and Epstein describes his experiences with it -- and indicates that the biggest thing that needs to make the commercial infrastructure happen is the deployment of thousands of such machines. What about libraries, Mr Epstein -- starting with depository libraries? Could GPO provide support so that such a system could be a viable option for patrons who need printed government documents? How could such a system revolutionize Interlibrary Loan? Could we develop ways to support the cost for patrons with a print-and-check-out on demand system, adding the books to our collections once they're returned? Or perhaps buy them back from patrons as a cost-sharing mechanism?"

italicized text quoted from 'lbr a blog about virtual reference for librarians by request'

The thing is, the technology isn't that new, it just hasn't 'caught.' Here's a link to a 2001Business 2.0 article where Epstein is also quoted about the machine. What's it going to take for publishing-on-demand to take off?

Marin County SMS Ask-a-Librarian: 63 inquiries first month


My library launched our Instant Messaging Reference service January 3rd. We staff the desk from 3-5, Monday-Friday, and anytime I happen to be at my desk (which isn't that often anymore).

In our first month of offering this service, we answered 63 questions!

This is an impressive showing, and it makes me glad we did as much publicity for it as we did. I'm guessing our usage will only grow from here, which could become a staffing issue in the future. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, glasses raised and cheers!

A huge thanks to the five librarians who have worked tirelessly with me to start this service up and to staff it. I won't mention names (unless you guys want me to), but you know who you are, and thank you!

extreme librarian

the "Tag of the Month" featuring a different MARC tag each month -no really. And don't miss the archives.

The Biggest Web Design Mistakes of 2004

These ladies are laughing at you. Why? You designed your web site for your needs, not their needs. It gets worse. After they stop laughing, they're going to one of your competitors' sites and buy something.

Write these two sentences where you can see them as you're working on your computer:

1. The only reason my web site exists is to solve my customers' problems.

2. What problems does the page I'm looking at solve?

Nobody cares about you or your site. Really. What visitors care about is getting their problems solved. Most people visit a web site to solve one or more of the following three problems.
1. They want/need information
2. They want/need to make a purchase / donation.
3. They want/need to be entertained.

Article here

Yahoo Offers New Y!Q Contextual Search Tool

From a SearchEngineWatch article:
Yahoo has rolled out a nifty new tool that lets you use content you're viewing as the basis of a search query, providing results that are difficult to get otherwise without using advanced search commands.

The new tool, called simply Y!Q, lets you use all or part of a web page you're viewing as the source of a search query. Simply highlight relevant portions of text on the page and run a "related search," and Y!Q analyzes the page, extracts the most relevant concepts and uses those as inputs.
Several interesting points:
If you're a Firefox user, Yahoo offers a Y!Q plugin for the search bar.

Y!Q is part of Yahoo Next, the company's playground for showcasing new technology which is similar to Google Labs.

Yahoo release Y!Q in less than polished form so that it could get feedback from users to help improve the tool.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

More Free eBooks - with SFX Target pre-set

This collection contains almost 500 publically available titles.

Handheld market free fall continues

For the fourth successive quarter in 2004, sales declined on a year-over-year basis to 2.8 million units, the market researcher said. For the full year, the figure was 9.2 million units, compared to 10.6 million units in 2003. This is the third successive year of decline since the market's peak in 2001, IDC said.
"Despite a rise in quarterly shipments due to holiday seasonality and consumer uptake of bundled and integrated GPS receivers, increasingly saturated markets and stiff competition from converged mobile devices drove the handheld device market to its third straight year of decline," analyst David Linsalata said in a release. "This drop stresses the urgent need for vendors to evolve their devices beyond personal information management in order to return the market to a growth path."

Google Revenue Doubles

Google Inc. on Tuesday reported record revenue of $1.03 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up 101% year over year, and 28% over its previous quarter.

TechWeb article here.

Interesting versions of Google

Google Klingon

Google Bork

Google Elmer Fudd

Google Hacker

Google Piglatin

Online Social Networks Conference

From the conference website :
OSN2005 will be a summit for all those interested in working with social networking processes, tools, and media. In addition to attending many workshops, panels, and presentations by leading experts and practitioners, attendees will have the opportunity to be part of a community with a significant role in defining the future direction of online social networking. If you want to help shape this industry, come to OSN2005!

Participants attend by logging into the password protected event environment from any web browser, at any time of the day or night. Spread out over a two week period, most sessions will be asynchronous (not everyone is attending at the same time) allowing participants to attend at any time. This will allow you to schedule when and how often you would like to attend. Presentations, questions & answers, and interactive dialogue remain accessible throughout the entire event. The Caucus software remembers exactly what you've seen and what is new to you each time you log in.
Interesting sessions include The Library Blogosphere: Toward a Working Taxonomy, Advanced Knowledge Practices In OSNs, Flickr: Evolution of a Photo-based Social Network, and WIKIS: A new collaboration infrastructure for organizations. The full program is available here.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Ex Libris announces SFX as a network 'service'

From Lorcan Dempsey's (OCLC) weblog:
Ex Libris announces SFX as a network 'service'. As I suggested a while ago, I think that it is inevitable that we will see much more of this type of application. Libraries spend a lot of time managing a systems framework which is increasingly complex. They need to find ways of reducing this mechanical complexity. They should have to spend less time on having to get systems to work, and more on deploying those systems creatively to meet the evolving expecations of users.Ex Libris, the providers of SFX®, the world's leading link server, are pleased to announce a new, exciting subscription service--SFX eXpress. SFX eXpress brings with it the many benefits of the award-winning SFX linking technology while providing a fast-track solution for institutions that prefer not to host a server. Further, new models of subscription service meet the needs of a wide range of libraries, including small college libraries, public libraries, and special libraries.

Link to Ex Libris Press Release

More on usability

Jakob Nielsen's website is a great place to learn about web usabilty. Check out these Nielsen publications:

    Usability of Websites for Teenagers
    When using websites, teenagers have a lower success rate than adults and they're also easily bored. To work for teens, websites must be simple -- but not childish -- and supply plenty of interactive features

    A decade of good website design
    The success of sites such as Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo show that close attention to design and user needs is important. All are based on user empowerment and making it easy for people to do things.

    Usability 101: Introduction to Usability
    What is usability? How, when, and where can you improve it? Why should you care? This overview answers these basic questions.

    Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design
    The ten most egregious offenses against users. Web design disasters and HTML horrors are legion, though many usability atrocities are less common than they used to be.

    Acting on User Research
    User research offers a learning opportunity that can help you build an understanding of user behavior, but you must resolve discrepancies between research findings and your own beliefs.

    Usability Week 2005 Conference
    Usability Week 2005 takes you beyond the typical conference experience, offering a three-day usability camp, a two-day intensive on interaction design, and several exceptional day-long tutorials that get both broad and deep on core usability topics.

Free Internet Phone Service

Skype today released Skype 1.0, its software-based internet calling application that offers high-quality voice calls to other internet and landline users via the any broadband or dialup connection. With more than 23 million worldwide registered users, Skype now includes free Skype-to-Skype calling and conference calling for up to 5 participants, cross-platform communications, rich presence and personalization features, and the pre-pay SkypeOut service, allowing users to call any landline or mobile worldwide for the price of a local call. The software also includes built-in instant messaging, conference calling, logging, contact/personal status options, customization of photo/call alerts, file transfers, support for multiple Skype accounts per computer, and end-to-end encryption.

Internet searchers are confident, satisfied and trusting - but they are also unaware and naïve

Pew Internet & American Life Project report by Deborah Fallows Search Engine Users: Internet searchers are confident, satisfied and trusting - but they are also unaware and naïve - "One in six internet searchers can consistently distinguish between paid and unpaid search results."

Full report:

User-Focused design activities shape Endeavor Meridian

Here is an interesting press release about Endeavor’s approach to user-focused design and usability testing. It makes me think about how we could incorporate something similar into our product development process.

I also wonder about our vendor’s usability testing methodology.

CiteULike and Connotea

CiteUlike and Connotea are two new services based on the bookmark management service. Connotea is tailored to the needs of scientists, CiteULike is a general academic bookmark management service.