Tuesday, May 31, 2005

WorldCat Wiki

This is from Thomas Hickey's blog. He is chief scientest at OCLC.

"The idea is to have a Wiki that complements WorldCat. People could add reviews, cover art, comments, etc. and relate these to bibliographic records (maybe at the FRBR work-level too). We hope the system is flexible enough so that people do (good) things we're not expecting. We'd like the Wiki to be available anywhere WorldCat records are"

Read the full entry here

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Email a phone ...

Teleflip allows you to send an email text message to any cell phone. Free -- and simple!

Try this. Send an email to (yourcellphonenumber)@teleflip.com (North America only).

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Check out The 2005 Horizon Report produced by EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.

The report highlights six technologies that the underlying research suggests will become very important to higher education over the next one to five years.

Extended Learning
Ubiquitous Wireless
Intelligent Searching
Educational Gaming
Social Networks and Knowledge Webs
Context-aware, computer augmented reality

Want to know the number of Starbucks per capita?

Want to get a quick look at demographics of your community or see historic postcards?

Visit ePodunk

From ePodunk site: "We believe in the power of place.
ePodunk provides in-depth information about more than 25,000 communities around the country, from Manhattan to Los Angeles, Pottstown to Podunk. Our listings also include geocoded information about thousands of parks, museums, historic sites, colleges, schools and other places across America. "

Friday, May 27, 2005

Check out the unnofficial wiki for the June ALA conference.

From the site..."Anyone who wants to add to or edit topics on the wiki can do it. You don't need to ask before making a change -- this wiki belongs to all of us. If you know something about Chicago or have some ALA Conference tips, please contribute to the wiki. I went to my first ALA Annual Conference in 2004, and I know it would have been great to have had advice and suggestions on what to do in Orlando and at the Conference."

First Podcast novel still going strong.

The typical print run for a first-time novelist ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 copies.
EarthCore, one of the world's first podcast-only novels, already has over 5,500 readers after just four weeks and five episodes. From the author's blog you can download several chapters with each posting.

Read more about podiobooks here.
Book Covers Made into Mosaics

Bonjour! Hey, it is in French, but you can click on the Flag to get English for what you need, then scroll down.
Free tool MozoDojo turns photos into mosaics. Some are suggesting it as interesting tool for library book covers.

uhhhhh -- copyright implications?

Ten Steps to Effective Web Presence for Libraries

1. Design for Your Users
2. IM with Users and Ponder JYBE
3. Blog your Stuff
4. Podcast Rich Content
5. Utilize RSS
6. Ponder a wiki
7. Utilize Image Sites
8. Offer a Toolbar
9. Local Flavor Rules
10. Be Discoverable

Link to good PDF with more detail and illustrations.

Companies Tap Into RSS

From "Business2.0"

Real simple syndication, better known as RSS, is moving from weblogs to the Fortune 500. The technology, designed to let users subscribe to blog newsfeeds, is being co-opted by corporations to keep employees and customers informed -- alerting systems administrators when a server goes down, for instance, or sending lists of recent credit card purchases to a customer's Treo.

The simplicity appeals to companies because monitoring data takes too much time and e-mail updates clog inboxes. RSS, on the other hand, can issue customizable alerts more quickly than e-mail. "RSS will be adapted by corporations really fast," predicts Ray Valdez, an analyst at the Gartner Group. Startups are already eyeing the nascent market. Ottawa-based Serence has clients ranging from FindSavings.com, which alerts shoppers about new coupons, to a law firm that's using RSS to monitor patents. Big companies, too, are getting into the game. Computer Associates's (CA) Security Advisor RSS service provides updates on the latest viruses and worms to corporate IT departments. Real simple, indeed.

Library samples interest in MP3 books

NORWALK -- To gauge interest in listening to books on MP3 players, Norwalk Public Library will give one away.

The library may offer a service to patrons that would enable them to download books from its Web site to personal MP3 players, the portable devices that play digital music.

But, because the service would be expensive -- about $8,000 a year -- library officials want to ensure it would be used. To do that, they're conducting a survey.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Publishing Companies Grow Concerned Over E-Reserves on Campuses

May 25, 2005 — There's been a change in Ellen Lichtenstein's study patterns.

For half her classes this past year, she no longer had to visit a library to get the reading materials professors had placed on reserve. Instead, she only needed Internet access and a password.

"It's as simple as logging into my e-mail account, clicking on a few links and printing it," said Lichtenstein, 21, a New York University communications senior from Birmingham, Ala. "There's no going to the library, waiting on line, waiting to Xerox it, there's none of that."

And publishing companies are worried precisely because of that ease and convenience — it's another way for publishers to lose sales.

The Importance of Open Access, Open Source, and Open Standards for Libraries


Monday, May 23, 2005

Illinois Library Getting Fingerprint Scanners

Library officials in this suburb west of Chicago have come up with a high-tech solution for keeping unauthorized visitors from using their computers: fingerprint scans.

The scanners to be installed on 130 library computers this summer will verify the identity of computer users.

Library officials said they wanted to tighten computer access because many people borrow library cards and pass codes from friends or family to log on. The technology also will help the library implement a new policy that allows parents to put filters on their children's' accounts, officials said.

But privacy advocates have criticized the plan. More here

Friday, May 20, 2005

Wave and Pay With a Wireless Credit Card

A new payment system unveiled by Chase Bank allows users to pay for goods and services with just a blink of their plastic credit card. Embedded with an RFID chip, users simply just wave their card at the cash register and the terminal reads the data to process the payment. In effect, Chase says this will consumers happier because the checkout process will go much faster at a rate between 30 and 40 percent.

Google Scholar and SFX: new opportunities for libraries and researchers

May 19, Press Release from Ex Libris:
Ex Libris announced today the immediate availability of a new set of tools to enable Google Scholar to display OpenURL links to SFX. With these tools, institutions with the award-winning SFX link server can register with Google Scholar to have their SFX links displayed in Google Scholar search results. Once registered, the institutions' electronic library holdings are made available to Google Scholar so that the Google Scholar search results will clearly indicate when electronic full text is available.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

15 things you can do with RSS

Basically, you can perform any task with RSS that requires search or information retrieval from a server. Automatically and repeatedly. Here are my favourites (please let me know if there are better services and I'll update). I use this list to convince people to start using an RSS feed reader. There's more to RSS than just weblog syndication and news aggregation.

Library Collections Linked on Google Scholar for Free

Library Collections Linked on Google Scholar for Free
by Barbara Quint
May 16, 2005
The Google Scholar project (http://scholar.google.com), which launched in November 2004 (http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb041122-1.shtml), has responded to the complaints of many academic and research librarians by expanding its usefulness for campus-based users. Its new institutional access feature links Google Scholar users to electronic versions—and even print versions—of journals accessible through library collections. Any library using OpenURLs and meeting Google Scholar’s conditions can join the program. Authorization of “appropriate copy” to individual library patrons, “on-campus or off,” remains the library’s electronic responsibility. Unlike many commercial information services, Google offers the institutional link resolving at its usual attractive rate—free. Within days of the announcement, a reported 150 libraries had joined.

Approximately 30 libraries and several major library software vendors offering link resolvers (e.g., SFX from Ex Libris, Article Linker from Serials Solutions, and 1Cate from Openly Informatics) have worked since the beginning of this year on a pilot project to develop and test this important new feature. Though its scholarly focus clearly targets academic and research libraries, any and all libraries can participate. “We’d like to see them all,” welcomed Anurag Achaya, Google Scholar’s project manager. Some public libraries have joined already. Although U.S. libraries dominate, participants stretch from Iceland to Japan, Beirut to Tel-Aviv.

Ex Libris expands marketing division

Library Technology Guides: Ex libris Press Release:

Today, Ex Libris announced that Heidi Trockman and Ted Koppel have joined Ex Libris as the newest members to its growing marketing team. In her newly-created role as Marketing Manager, Ms. Trockman will manage all marketing communication initiatives for Ex Libris' rapidly expanding North American market. Mr. Koppel joins Ex Libris as Product Manager for Verde, Ex Libris' electronic resource management system. Both join a global Product Management and Marketing team at Ex Libris and will be based in the Boston office.

Monday, May 16, 2005


A podiobook is a serialized audio book which is made available in podcast format. While still a relatively new phenomenon, this new audiobook delivery method seems to be gaining popularity. For more information and a podiobook directory, visit this thread in the ipodlounge and podiobooks.com.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Polishing the turd: the dangers of redesigning the OPAC

So as Art and I continue to try to export the data from our respective Voyager catalogs to create an alternative web opac, I have been trying to formulate what such a beast should look like. We have the opportunity to make the web interface look and behave in any way we want, so there are a lot of things to think about. The goal is to make the opac behave in the way non-information professionals would expect a searching interface to work, so we're not just talking about a cosmetic makeover to the current design.

We just had a professional usability study done on our web site and services. The results were rather sobering. While not every aspect of our web presence is bad, a great deal of it is, and, worse, the bad parts are generally the most important. Making the situation even more complicated is the fact that a lot of these awkward interfaces are not under our control (the databases, ejournals and opac). Well, not currently under our control.

I'll skip over the part about our website (we're able to fix that pretty easily) and write about what they recommended for the catalog. The first screen they gave us was a redesigned search form. An interesting dialogue came out of that:

Usability Expert: Ok, so this is the search form...
Librarian(s): So... is this the simple search form or the advanced search?
Usability Expert: This is the search form.

And it really is as simple as that. It is a text input field that, by default, would do a keyword natural language query on the catalog, or you could add limits and filters (title, author, subject, etc.) or make a more sophisticated boolean search using the exact same form.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mashups for RSS

...as if I know all about "Mashups" or "Mashing up" :-)

I gather it is big in music (mixing a hodgepodge of existing tunes and lyrics together into one song etc.) and now... RSS.

"Mashing up is turning into a meme -- first it was music, then it was Web services.. now it's RSS feeds.

RSSMix (available at http://www.rssmix.com/ ) Allows you to specify any number of RSS feeds to be blended together into one uberfeed. Once you have an uberfeed there are other things you can do with it, but one thing at a time."

Also mentions "Excel blogs" yikes!!


Friday, May 06, 2005

Google Accelerator Can Wreck Web Apps/Stats

The accelerator scours a page and prefetches the content behind each link. This gives the illusion of pages loading faster (since they’ve already been pre-loaded behind the scenes). Here’s the problem: Google is essentially clicking every link on the page — including links like “delete this” or “cancel that.” And to make matters worse, Google ignores the Javascript confirmations. So, if you have a “Are you sure you want to delete this?” Javascript confirmation behind that “delete” link, Google ignores it and performs the action anyway.

I’ve also been investigating whether its effect on web analytics software. Will a prefetch be counted as a page view even if the user never visits that page?


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Google Web Accelerator Launched

Google Web Accelerator is an application that uses the power of Google's global computer network to make web pages load faster. Google Web Accelerator is easy to use; all you have to do is download and install it, and from then on many web pages will automatically load faster than before.

Google does this by:

  • Sending your page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google Web Accelerator traffic.

  • Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.

  • Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly since you last viewed it.

  • Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.

  • Managing your Internet connection to reduce delays.

  • Compressing data before sending it to your computer.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Model for Customer Support Using Blogs and Wikis

From Common Craft- Social Design for the Web:

"Blogs and message boards both suffer from the same problem- they are great for presenting emerging information, but poor at organizing it for future reference. The “good stuff” that people often need and companies often want to capture quickly gets buried among all the comments and messages.

You could say that blogs and message boards are good at managing flows, but poor at managing stocks.

With this post, I’m outlining a potential way organizations can use blogs and message boards as a way to generate useful information and a wiki as a way to filter, archive and organize it for future reference."

Read more here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

RSS Trafic Alerts Hack for Yahoo traffic

Use this URL and modify as described:


  • czs is your zip code

  • mag is the level of magnification (3 = 4 miles, 4 = 10 miles, 5 = 40 miles)

  • minserv is the minimum severity of the traffic condition (1 = minor, 2 = moderate, 4 = major, 5 = critical.)"

EarthLink to offer cellphone with built-in WiFi for unlimited VoIP calling

CNET managed to pry a few details out of EarthLink about SK-Earthlink, that new joint venture with South Korean carrier SK Telecom they announced back in January to team up on cellphone service here in the US. Nothing about a possible launch date or pricing, but apparently the plan is to offer at least one cellphone with built-in WiFi that would let subscribers make unlimited local and long distance VoIP calls (as part of their monthly plan) when they’re in range of a wireless hotspot and then roam on the wider cellular networks every else.

Man Pays $2,190 Library Fine

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) A man who borrowed a book in 1981 from his hometown library in suburban Buffalo has returned it, along with $2,190.

Joel Schlesinger would have owed 10 cents a day up to $10, the maximum penalty for an overdue book that year. Even now, the fine is only 25 cents a day up to $15.

But in 2005, the library system and Erie County have financial troubles. He returned "The Joy of Camping" to the Orchard Park Public Library last Friday with something extra in the check.

"We certainly had no intention of charging (that) amount," said library director Ann Laubacker. But they accepted the donation.

Schlesinger, who sells and services Dairy Queen franchises, said he found the book a few months ago in the attic of his northern New Jersey home. Meanwhile, he was planning a reunion with his brothers in western New York to play some golf. He checked the library Web site, read about the financial troubles and phoned Laubacker before his visit.

A member of the Orchard Park High School Class of 1976, Schlesinger said he spent a lot of time in that library, "doing projects and stuff. We didn't have the Internet back then."

The book was due Feb. 27, 1981. He calculated $2,190 for the 24 years since.

"It's tough times they're going through," he said. "I hope they can do some good things ... maybe buy some books. That would be terrific."