The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Sunday, January 26, 2003

Obviously I didn't have time this weekend to work on a new template. It's my birthday weekend, and there was that Super Bowl thing, so I'll work on it this week.

In the meantime, a big and major thank you to everyone that has been leaving comments and sending me email with suggestions and tips! I'm going to spend the week investigating my options (since I'm already over my bandwidth for the month anyway), and I'll post my solution when I figure it all out.

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Blogging and Libraries

Is It Time To Get Blogging?

"A blog allows you to edit a web page without worrying about programming and design issues. People inexperienced in web development can use blogging software to create, update, and maintain web pages. Also, multiple users can post stories to a blog, at any time, from anywhere.

At their most elemental, blogs represent a new way to add content to a web site. The blogging tools are flexible enough to allow large parts of any web site to be maintained via the blog interface. Most blogging software is now as easy to use as a word processor, with the programming and HTML formatting done for you. Updating a web page can be as easy as writing a quick letter, allowing a standard web page to become a personal web publishing wizard. The standard web form widgets enable the blogger to control text size and fonts and even facilitate hyperlinks by simply highlighting words and clicking a button....

Adding a blog to your library's web site can add currency and freshness. It can also encourage patrons to return. At its best, a blog can transform your site into a dynamic learning community where everyone shares knowledge." [Library Journal, via Resourceshelf]

A great introduction to the topic by Blake Carver, the man behind the curtain over at LISNews. I make some of these same points in my own presentations about blogging. There's the big debate in the blogging community - is it the format,  the author's voice, or the software running the site that makes it a blog?

I'm realizing that it's d) all of the above, with a built-in innovation engine that never seems to stop. If a library adds a blog to its site today, it gets all of the benefits of blogging that Blake mentions, plus (potentially):

There's all this stuff out there that comes built-in (or plugged-in) to blogging software these days. Then throw in ancillary services like Friend of a Friend, GeoURL, and the like, and it starts to get interesting how a library could interact with its patrons. A blog would immediately give most public libraries a more dynamic web site without a major investment in software or programming knowledge while distributing the workload of maintaining the site's currency. How often have we been able to say that?!

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A Step in the Right Direction!

Laura Bush Announces $20 Million to Help Offset National Shortage of Librarians

"Laura Bush announced today that the President's Bush's 2004 budget will include a proposal for increased funding for the nation's libraries and museums. The President's 2004 proposed budget will be sent to Congress on February 3, 2003.

'Along with our homes and schools, libraries and museums provide the strongest foundation for learning in our communities,' Mrs. Bush said. 'Museum directors and librarians educate and inform the public, and and by doing so, by doing so, strengthen our great democracy.'

Over the next 16 years, America's libraries are projected to lose 58 percent of their professional librarians. The President's budget proposal addresses this loss with a special focus on recruiting and training the next generation of librarians. Last year, the President's budget included $10 million for this initiative. This year, the budget requests $20 million for this initiative." [via Library Link of the Day]

11:23:03 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Another Google Search Alert Service!

In addition to Googlert, Mike Dierken points out SearchAlert, a similar service he has set up that doesn't require you to have your own Google API key.

" helps you stay on top of the latest news and information from the Web. It is simple, easy and free - the way it should be.

As a subscriber, you enter search terms and then continually monitors the big Web search engines and sends automated e-mails to you when new results appear.
We do the work so you don't have to!"

I just now signed so I haven't received any notices yet. Mike notes that he'll be "adding posting new results to blogs via the Blogger API 'real soon now,' " which would certainly be useful, but I'd like to formally request notices via an RSS feed.  :-)

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Way to Go, Karl!

I was wondering who yoyology was over at Memepool after seeing a couple of library-related posts there from this author. It turns out it's Karl Siewert, and he's doing so well at spreading the word that Memepool is adding a category just for libraries! Watch for it here.

10:56:03 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Go Phish!

New Service Sounds Like Phish

"Last month, Phish joined with Elektra Records and -- a free live-music site -- to introduce a unique Web music service that coincides with the band's first studio album and tour in two years.

For a fee of $10 to $13, the service, called Live Phish, features specially designed cover art and provides soundboard-quality downloadable recordings of Phish concerts less than 48 hours after a performance.

Shows are available in both unrestricted MP3 and SHN files -- a compacted and so-called "lossless" format." [Wired News]

Here's the key statement, though:

" 'The service is so affordable and easy to use that it's easier to just download (the show) than to bother trying to get it from a friend,' said Jason Colton, an associate at Phish management company Dionysian Productions."

How long until the rest of the music industry comes to this conclusion and starts making money instead of losing it?

10:49:48 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Playing With Time

"Here at the Playing With Time web site, unseen worlds of change will be revealed. You will see time sped up and slowed down, and behold the beauty of change. Time will be in your hands to witness, replay, and even create. You never know... you might not look at things quite the same way again." [Lockergnome's Bits and Bytes]

I'm losing way too much time at this site tonight. My saving grace is that I know my Dad will follow suit....

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Petabytes = Librarians!

So Long Megabyte, Hello Petabyte!

"I haven't recently spoken about storage in this space. The David Morgenstern's story, 'What Killed the Megabytes?,' is exactly what I needed to come back to this subject....

After looking at current gigabyte devices, Morgenstern looks at terabytes. To get a terabyte today, you just need a couple of drives. He concludes.

So get used to terabytes while you can. Petabytes will be the next capacity point scheduled to come down to earth.

I agree with him. Consider this prediction from Adam Couture, an analyst at Gartner, reported by CIO Magazine in "What Elephant? Storage is already as big as an elephant and getting bigger" on May 15, 2002: 'The worldwide storage capacity will increase from 283,000 terabytes in 2000 to more than 5 million terabytes by 2005.' " [Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends]

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This Is Dave Barry's Brain on Blog

Darn - Dave Barry is finally blogging, but there's no RSS feed because he's on Blogspot.  :-(

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Show Your Support for the EFF

Two notes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

  1. DMCRA Reintroduced - Ask Your Rep to Co-Sponsor!
    You can use this fill-in-the-blank form to have an email or fax sent to your legislator. It doesn't get any easier than this to make your voice heard!
  2. (set up by Rick Abruzzo, not the EFF)
    "A bunch of record companies got busted for price fixing and collusion. This basically means that they all agreed to charge above market value for each CD. Because they did this, you lost your opportunity to let fair market competition dictate the best price for a CD. In other words, you were ripped off. In the ensuing lawsuit, the courts handed down a ruling favoring the consumer.

    You are a valid claimant if : You 1. bought music 2. from a store 3. between 1995 and 2000. This means that certain record companies owe YOU money.

    You shouldn't keep that money. You should Send It To The EFF! No, really. You want to do this."

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Library of Congress Starts Sound Registry

"Close your eyes and just listen.

There's President Theodore Roosevelt denouncing corporate swindles. Robert Frost reading his poetry. Buffalo Bill Cody urging war with Spain over Cuba.

They are joined by 2.5 million other voices - some famous, some not - and sounds - the huffing and puffing of a steam locomotive is one - preserved at the Library of Congress.

On Monday, Librarian of Congress James Billington was announcing the first 50 sounds to be entered in a National Recording Registry. It seeks to ensure even greater protection for some of the most notable songs, speeches and other utterances.

The library is not the only government repository for sounds. The National Archives and Records Administration has tens of thousands of hours of Capitol Hill speeches, committee hearings and various other gatherings. (from AP)" [Library Stuff]

I can't seem to get to this article at the moment and I don't find anything about this on the LOC site, but I certainly hope they're offering these sound files as MP3s or Ogg Vorbis files you can download!

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Boys and Reading

Study Says Boys Do Read, They Just Don't Read Books

"Teachers should allow boys to bring Pokémon trading cards into the classroom, let them go on Internet chat rooms and encourage them to relate school texts to television shows such as the Simpsons, the author of a new study on boys and literacy says.

Boys have traditionally performed more poorly than girls in reading and writing tests, but researchers who tracked boys in six elementary classrooms in Alberta over two years say such tests may not reflect the level of literacy boys reach through non-traditional means.

The problem may be that they are simply bored with the conventional curriculum, says the study, titled Morphing Literacy: Boys Reshaping Their Literacy.

The study found it is a myth that boys do not read.

While they are less interested in fiction or traditional literature than girls are, they read more on the Internet and memorize vast amounts of detailed material from games or stories they read in the newspaper, the research showed....

Teachers should not drop the traditional reading materials but should allow students to be exposed to more popular culture, she said....

They found boys spend large amounts of time on chat sites and Web sites to get tips on how to 'cheat' or compete at video games, read books about animals, sports and fantasy, and will pick up magazines and newspapers to read hockey scores, entertainment stories or news about things relevant to their lives, such as the death of Napster. One boy told the researchers: 'We have Napster on our computer, so that really got me.' " [The National Post, via LISNews]

I find this interesting because just last week, I was noting that Brent's main motivation for learning to read seems to be so he can read the screens of video and web games, as well as his Yu-Gi-Oh cards. I actually think he enjoys reading more than most of the other boys in his class (two librarians in the house, don't you know), but his popular culture is clearly the main catalyst for him.

10:15:07 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!