The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Saturday, March 02, 2002

Matt Goyer has some excellent posts about the music industry:

I, too, would pay for most of the things Matt proposes in that last link. The problem, though, is that there's little room for libraries in these scenarios. If the rights management on the digital files is too strict, libraries can't lend them out. On the other hand, if it's too lax, then the files are easily copied while checked out, which probably won't happen given the RIAA's stance. Maybe that should be one of the "good faith" gestures from the RIAA when they sit down to the table with the tech industry - a provision for library use. They've exempted libraries in other areas... why not this one?

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The Pepys Project

"The purpose of this is to collect URL's for web logs, diaries, and journals from around the world, indexed by geographical area and then country. I have excluded places which are territories of larger nations, so in the unlikely event you live on Christmas Island, you would add your URL to Australia's listings." [via Daypop Top 40]

This is a great idea, but what we really need is subject access to blogs. I found this out first-hand when I was putting together my presentations last week. I wanted to show personal, corporate, newspaper, and different types of library blogs. I had a heck of a time trying to find what I wanted. Again, you can tell that librarians were not involved in the development cycle of blogging software. I mean, if we're going to start using blogging for knowledge management and information dissemination (along with everything else we're already using it for), then we're going to need better access to the content.

So is there a way to add meta tag macros into blog templates? For example, in Radio, I fill in boxes to provide my name, the name of my blog, the language of each categorie, and a tag line for my blog. That's four meta tags right there (title, creator, language, description) that could be easily converted to HTML or Dublin Core meta tags when the template is processed. The whole setup would be completely transparent for the user, but always easily editable. Can't there be a few other boxes that I can choose to fill in (or not)? It wouldn't be that difficult to handle other DC tags and just add the macros into each template.

  • Approximate location (Illinois, U.S.) - I'm making this one up, but it would be valuable
  • Subject (Technology and libraries, etc.)
  • Format (blog)
  • Rights (this blog is copyleft)

Then Google and Daypop could also index by these tags, making subject retrieval a bajillion times better. Sure the classifications would be subjectively entered by the author, but it would at least be a start. Not only that, sites like NewsIsFree could index their RSS feeds by subject as well. Otherwise, it's 500,000 blogs and I can't find the needle.

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Limewire: Network Size

"Witness the scalability of Gnutella in realtime. We've all read the technical papers and masters thesises (thesi?) about the theoretical growth of the Gnutella network and if/how it will work. Today with the release of Morpheus Preview Edition, now connected to the Gnutella network, you can witness its 345 trillion users put the Gnutella network to the test. In a little over a couple hours it has grown to roughly 3 times the size it was last week, and still going strong.. how much bigger can it get?" [MetaFilter]

The music labels should be pretty scared today. Of course, in that parallel universe, this never happened.

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I've taught Rosie how to high-five and low-five just in time for March Madness!

Rosie doing a high-five

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Well, that didn't last long. I've been using Atomz, a free search engine service, as a way to search my site. However, the free account allows for 500 pages, and now I've gone over that. I know I could switch to Freefind (although I'd have to pay to be ad-free) or PicoSearch, but I really want to run my own search engine software now that I've moved my blog to my own server. I know I could use ht:dig, but I'm not really technical enough to install it. Any other suggestions? I'm okay at stealing straightforward Perl scripts and adapting them to a *nix environment, but that's about it.
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Paul sends along an article about Bookshare Takes Page from Napster.

"Empowered with a special exemption from copyright law, Bookshare hopes to avoid the bitter legal fight that bogged down Napster and prove Napster's subversive technology can be applied for social good.

Bookshare, based in Palo Alto, California, is building an online library of books scanned into audio and Braille formats for the exclusive use of the blind and people with reading problems such as dyslexia.

The target audience, about 5 million people nationwide, qualifies Bookshare for a copyright exemption created in 1996 to encourage greater distribution of literature to the blind and reading-impaired." [at CNN]

Sheree alerted me to this site a few months ago because her Board President came across it and he wanted to know if there was a way the Homer Library could do to collaborate with them. Barry is blind, so naturally he's very interested in this service. I emailed them some questions, but I never got a response. It's probably time to try again.

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The Glass Engine

"A truly cool little app that indexes Mp3 samples of over 60 compositions by Philip Glass. Play with the buttons or drag the blue bar at the top of the screen to browse by year (with or without a filter thrown on to get just film scores, opera, etc.). Drag the second series of blue bars to get presented with other selections with more or less joy, sorrow, intensity, density and velocity." [MetaFilter]

This is very cool, and it's a great way to listen to Glass' compositions. I wonder if something like this could be set up to allow browsing through a library's digital audio collection (someday, when we have them). When you find something you want to hear more of, you click a button to check it out.

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Catching up on Alan Reiter's Wireless Data Web Log, he's got some great thoughts on Wireless + Photography, Nokia's Multimode PC Card, and Microsoft's SmartPhone (scroll down a little). 

I just had to point out this great quote of his, though:

"The [MPAA] is to innovation as the Spanish Inquisition was to religious freedom." (scroll down a little)

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Tim also adds:

"I think that ATT has been offering this for a few months. According to their web page, I am able to send messages to other carrier phones just by using the 10 digit number. The ATT back end routes it as an email message to the users phone."

Thanks for the heads-up on this, Tim. FYI to everyone else, I'm adding Tim's book Bringing Children and the Internet Together to the Shifted Reading List. Have you noticed how the section of books I want to read keeps growing but the section of titles I've read hasn't? Sigh.

Check out Tim's blog, too, as there are lots of interesting links on it.

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I wanted to make sure everyone saw Russell's comment on yesterday's post about 30 billion text messages sent each month in Europe:

"When I first arrived here in Madrid, Spain a couple years ago I was surprised that the first thing my coworker did was take me out to buy a mobile phone. Every man woman and child here has one so it's pretty much a necessity. In 10 minutes I had my simple Nokia phone and number for $60 with no contract (I can recharge it once I use my pre-pay minutes at almost any ATM machine) and he had SMSed me a bunch of phone numbers from the office and I was ready to go.

Then he taught me how to send messages myself... I was bewildered at first... Why? But then I started receiving my first messages and the answer was clear. What 30 billion messages a month mean in real terms is this: it's an integrated part of every person's life here. Any small question that you may want to ask someone while not in the same room gets sent via SMS. "Where's lunch today?" "I'll be late" "What's the address again?" etc. I send 2 or 3 a day at a minimum. You see people sending messages constantly - in the Metro, in restaurants, in meetings, on the street... wherever.

Because the phones are so cheap to buy and maintain, every kid has one. And the kids have their own abbreviations for common words so they don't have to type as much... it's their own language (that has been, of course, picked up by the phone companies for their marketing campaigns...). I think it'll be interesting to see what happens in the U.S. now that we'll have true SMS too. I wonder if anyone's come up with a SMS->Weblog interface yet. (Though at 160 character maximum the posts might be a bit short...)"

You didn't believe me, did you? I also wanted to let Russell know that some folks are indeed using SMS to post to their blogs. Al has been experimenting with this using his i-mode phone, and there's another blog using SMS for posting but I can't find it at the moment. And someone just posted the links yesterday. Drat. Bad brain, bad. Anyone know which one it is or know of others? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

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I like Masukomi's new design, too. [via Scripting News] Hopefully I'll get around to designing my own Radio template in another month or so. This particular post caught my eye:

"Almost 1/4 of US workers telecommute, says study [MacCentral]

Personally I find it hard to believe that that number is even remotely accurate. I don't know a single person who telecommutes. I know they exist, but I never encounter them and every time I have been offered a contract position i have had to work on the premisis even though doing so walk almost always a waste of time, gas, and effeciance. Sure there are some freelance coders and designers out there... but 24%? No way do 1 in 4 people out there telecommute. If they did we woudln't have these massive traffic jams every morning at 8 in every american city with one person in each car heading to work."

I find this difficult to believe, too. Not in the future, but in the now. I talk a lot about how libraries need to become more portable in order to serve the Net Gens in their world, but this is another group of people we need to keep in mind as we design our remote services. Just because they're working at home doesn't mean they can drop whatever they're doing and take a drive over to the library to use our resources. In fact, these are the folks who embrace instant messaging because they can just dash off a note or a question to anyone around the world. Except their local library. Hopefully that will change.

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Foot of snow outside
And it's still coming down!
Good snowball-packing snow, too!

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

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